Cape Town – The Stormers relied on a push-over try at the death to snatch a last-gasp 19-18 victory over the Hurricanes in their Super Rugby match at Newlands on Friday evening.
Some 32,000 Stormers fans were kept on the edge of their seats in the final five minutes as the home side were stretched to the limits in search of the match-winning points.
Once they managed the push-over try, it was left to the steely flyhalf Demtri Catrakilis to steer his conversion effort between the uprights for the decisive points.
The Hurricanes held the upper hand in the opening six minutes when the Stormers battled to exit their own 22m area.
When the Stormers did manage to transfer play into the opposition half, the visitors infringed at a driving maul and Catrakilis slotted a penalty from the opponents' 10m line in the seventh minute for the first points of the game.
This early advance seemed to lift the Stormers' game somewhat and the Hurricanes were under pressure for a sustained period but they kept their defensive lines intact, despite several threatening raids on their tryline.
The Hurricanes did, however, infringe at a breakdown and Catrakilis kept the scoreboard ticking over with a 20th minute penalty.
Six minutes ahead of the half-time break, the Stormers' defence was found wanting out wide and Hurricanes left wing Julain Savea ran on to a kick-ahead to pounce for the opening try of the match.
Flyhalf Beauden Barrett slotted over the conversion to give the Hurricanes a slender 7-6 lead, which was very much against the run of play.
Two minutes later, the Stormers suffered a further setback when right wing Cory Jane pounced on a crosskick and dived in unchallenged for his side's second try, which went unconverted, but allowed the New Zealanders to open up a six-point lead by the time the teams changed ends.
There seemed a far greater sense of urgency in the Stormers' ranks when play resumed in the second half but despite a flood of penetrative runs into the Hurricanes' 22m area, the hosts came up short every time.
There was very little variation to the Stormers' attacks and the Hurricanes saw off their best efforts, although they surrendered penalties, two of which were converted by Catrakilis.
The Hurricanes too enjoyed a fair amount of time in the Stormers' half but they seldom attacked the tryline.
They made their visits into the Stormers' half count when Barrett was on target with two more penalties to restore the six-point lead at 18-12.
The final 10 minutes provided the Stormers with a chance to salvage the game when they exerted great pressure on the Hurricanes defence.
Given the six-point deficit, they twice spurned the opportunity to go for posts when they won penalties, and instead opted for a line-out.
The third time, in the space of the final five minutes, proved the pivotal moment when the Stormers' scrum out-muscled theirs and flank Deon Fourie pounced on the ball for a try. Catrakilis' resulting conversion proved the difference in the end.
Scorers: Stormers (19): Try: Deon Fourie, Conversion: Demetri Catrakilis Penalties: Catrakilis (4).
Hurricanes (18): Tries: Julian Savea, Cory Jane. Conversion:
Beauden Barrett. Penalties: Barrett (2). – Sapa