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Cape Town – The Stormers finally came good in the Vodacom Super Rugby campaign when they scraped home with a 36-34 win over their New Zealand opponents, the Chiefs, at Newlands on Saturday.
After losing their first two matches of the season, the Stormers ran in three tries en route to their first victory, although uncharacteristically they conceded four tries, with the Chiefs securing a couple of bonus points.
A blaze of fireworks greeted the teams as they ran on to the field and that seemed to set the scene for a cracking start by the Stormers, playing their first match at home in this year's series.
First a rolling maul had the Chiefs backpedalling some 10 metres, and then the rampaging Stormers forwards punched holes in the opposition's first line of defence before right wing Gio Aplon ran in for an eighth-minute try, which was converted by fullback Joe Pietersen.
On either side of the opening try, Pietersen goaled penalties to crown a 13-point flurry, which was roundly applauded by the 37 000-strong crowd.
The Chiefs staged a comeback with fullback Gareth Anscombe showing the way after a 40-metre penalty.
Centre Gareth Anscombe then dived on to a grubber through the Stormers defence for a converted try as the tourists clawed their way back into the match.
The Stormers managed to shake off the setback with a flurry of forays into the Chiefs' 22-metre area where the pressure forced two penalties which Pietersen goaled for a 19-10 lead.
One of the penalties was also accompanied by a yellow card for visiting scrumhalf Tawera Kerr-Barlow, but the Chiefs brushed it off and went on to score their second converted try through Tim Nanai-Williams soon afterwards.
Two minutes ahead of the break, the Chiefs defence scrambled desperately to contain yet another Stormers onslaught, but scrappy work saw Aplon canter in unopposed for his second converted try, to give the home side a 26-17 half-time advantage.
Anscombe was on target with one out of two penalties as the Chiefs got the second half off with a fair degree of enterprise.
Once the Stormers managed to regain their composure, they transferred play to the Chiefs with effect and scrumhalf Nic Groom darted in for the side's third converted try.
But the Chiefs struck back almost immediately with another converted Ngatai try, closing the gap to six points.
Just on the hour mark, Pietersen slotted over his fifth penalty, and that was the cue for the home side's management to rope in their reserves.
The Stormers' fresh legs produced several threatening situations but there was no reward.
Instead, the Chiefs struck back with a rousing display towards the end, with substitute Andrew Horrell scoring their bonus-point try in the corner, which Anscombe converted splendidly.
Stormers: Tries: Gio Aplon (2), Nic Groom. Conversions: Joe Pietersen (3). Penalties: Pietersen (5).
Chiefs: Tries: Charlie Ngatai (2), Tim Nanai-Williams, Andrew Horrell. Conversions: Gareth Anscombe (4). Penalty: Anscombe (2). – Sapa