The attendance was the biggest for a Vodacom URC game in South Africa, and they were treated to a master-class from the visitors in how to absorb pressure with brilliant defence, and then shift gear when the opportunity presented itself in a magnificent advertisement for the depth in South African derby.

With their pack setting the tone, the first quarter belonged to the hosts, who enjoyed three quarters of the possession with the same amount of territorial advantage, while Chris Smith's three penalty goals to a solitary effort by Manie Libbok saw the men in blue lead by 9-3.

Smith added three more but a few minutes later, the visitors made their first scoring opportunity count as Herschel Jantjies showed great vision to find Marcel Theunissen unmarked with a wide pass on the left for the DHL Stormers No 8 to go over untouched from 22m out.

Libbok's conversion and a penalty goal a few minutes later handed the DHL Stormers a 13-12 lead late in the first half. The hosts would not have been happy as they failed to make their opportunities count, while they were probably also not patient enough on the attack in the visitors' half.

The second half started with a typical late afternoon Highveld downpour and more of the same from the DHL Stormers, who managed to keep the Vodacom Bulls pinned in their own half before scoring the second try in the 52nd minute when Junior Pokomela crashed over after some helter-skelter stuff from both sides to stretch the Capetonians' lead to 20-12.

The Vodacom Bulls failed to vary their play enough, but when they finally got into striking distance in the 65th minute - with David Kriel still in the sin-bin for a deliberate knock-on - Elrigh Louw broke a tackle before putting Sbu Nkosi over the hosts' first try to put them back within striking distance.

Libbok made it a four-point game again with a brilliant drop-goal in the 73rd minute, setting up a tense finale at Loftus and giving his team a little bit of breathing space on the score board.

And tense it was, with the DHL Stormers winning two crucial turn-overs inside their own 22 late in the match to cruelly deny the Vodacom Bulls in front of a packed house, and stretch their winning streak over the men from Pretoria to five games in the Vodacom URC.


Vodacom Bulls 19 (12) - Try: Sbu Nkosi. Conversion: Morne Steyn. Penalty goals: Chris Smith (4).

DHL Stormers 23 (13) - Tries: Marcel Theunissen, Junior Pokomela. Conversions: Manie Libbok (2). Penalty goals: Libbok (2). Drop goal: Libbok.