The Stormers beat the Bulls 29-17 in a thrilling derby at Newlands, Cape Town.
Robbie Fleck’s side ran out deserved winners over their fierce northern rivals, outscoring the Blue Bulls four tries to two.
The Stormers raced into a 12-nil lead inside 11 minutes after tries from Damian Willemse and Wilco Louw.
The Bulls hit back when Lood de Jager ghosted through a gap to score under the posts. Handre Pollard reduced the deficit to two, with a penalty before halftime.
Jason Jenkins scored soon after the interval to give the Bulls the lead, but some poor defending opened the door to the home team.
The Stormers struck back immediately when SP Marais sped away through some space to put his side back in front.
Marais kicked a long-range penalty to extend his team’s lead to five before Ramone Samuels provided the final dagger to John Mitchell’s men, with a 62nd-minute try.
Old-school battle between north and south.
The Stormers and coach Fleck, have been under pressure after many poor performances this season.
Mitchell, on the other hand, has had no such problems; his young team has been impressing with some mature displays and big wins against teams that were thought too strong for them.
The Cape team needed a big performance in front of a good crowd, and they duly delivered, starting like a house on fire.
Their scrum dominated the visitors, winning two penalties in the first two set-pieces.
Camped inside the Bulls 22, the Stormers turned the screw, scoring twice quick succession.
Dewaldt Duvenage picked up the spilt ball and sent an inverted left-hand pass to Damian Willemse.
The flyhalf threaded himself through the gap – and defenders – to score the opening try.
Louw crashed over from close range, carrying three Stormers on his back after some more sustained pressure inside the Bulls 22.
Lood de Jager, who has been in sublime form this year, found another hole and ghosted through the Stormers midfield.
De Jager is becoming legendary for his nose for a gap. His offloading is Beauden Barrettesque, too.
Ramone Samuels was sent to the bin for a late tackle on Handre Pollard.
The flyhalf slotted the long-range penalty; he needed somebody to hold the ball on the tee because the wind was blowing a gale.
The momentum had swung in favour of the away team.
They were gaining a foothold in the game, but could not keep their discipline, conceding needless penalties when in good field position.
Stormers took their chances and found a way to win.
The Bulls came out firing. Jenkins found a way through the fringes and scored under the sticks.
Damian de Allende found some space, sped through the defenders and sent Marais away to level the scores.
The centre’s show-and-go created the opportunity on the outside before he offloaded to the fullback.
Marais extended the Stormers’ lead before some wonderful backline play led to Samuels’ try.
Raymond Rhule’s linebreak started the move. The winger played the supporting De Allende, who, in turn, offloaded to the ubiquitous Pieter-Steph du Toit.
Du Toit held the ball up and gave the pass to Samuels on his inside.
The Stormers held out for the much-needed win.
Stormers versus Bulls video highlights.
Final score: Stormers 29 (12) Bulls 17 (10)
Tries – Willemse, Louw, Marais, Samuels
Pen – Marais
Con – Willemse (3)
Cards – Samuels (Yellow, 33′)
Tries – De Jager, Jenkins
Pen – Pollard
Con – Pollard (2)
Referee: Glen Jackson
Assistant Ref 1: Egon Seconds
Assistant Ref 2: Rasta Rasivhenge
TMO: Willie Vos
15 Sarel Marais, 14 Dillyn Leyds, 13 Johannes Engelbrecht, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Damian Willemse, 9 Dewaldt Duvenage, 8 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 7 Kobus van Dyk, 6 Siyamthanda Kolisi (captain), 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4 Chris van Zyl, 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Ramone Samuels, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Replacements: 16 Siyabonga Ntubeni, 17 Jacobus Janse van Rensburg, 18 Frans Malherbe, 19 Cobus Wiese, 20 Nizaam Carr, 21 Paul de Wet, 22 Jean-Luc du Plessis, 23 Seabelo Senatla.
15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Johnny Kotze, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Burger Odendaal (captain), 11 Divan Rossouw, 10 Handre Pollard, 9 Andre Warner, 8 Thembelani Bholi, 7 Jason Jenkins, 6 Marco van Staden, 5 Lodewyk de Jager, 4 Rudolph Snyman, 3 Trevor Nyakane, 2 Adriaan Strauss, 1 Lizo Gqoboka.
Replacements: 16 Jaco Visagie, 17 Nqobisiwe Mxoli, 18 Conrad van Vuuren, 19 Hendre Stassen 20 Roelof Smit, 21 Ivan van Zyl, 22 Manie Libbok, 23 Travis Ismaiel.