The Stormers confirmed their Super Rugby title credentials on Friday with a convincing 23-13 victory over the Reds in Brisbane.
The Stormers confirmed their Super Rugby title credentials on Friday with a convincing 23-13 victory over the Reds at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane.
The result sees the Stormers provisionally return to the top of the overall standings as they bounced back from the only defeat of their campaign so far, against the Crusaders last week.
The South African side led from start to finish after racing away to a 17-3 lead at half-time thanks to tries from wing Gio Aplon and fly-half Peter Grant, who scored 18 points.
The Reds came back strongly in the second period though and clawed their way back into contention thanks to a try from skipper James Horwill.
But it proved too little too late and the defending champions were left empty handed when Grant landed a late penalty to deny the hosts a losing bonus point.
To make matters worse, the curse of the Reds number ten jersey struck again as Cape Town-educated Sam Lane was forced off the field early on with a serious knee injury.
Although the result does not come as a surprise, the Stormers once again impressed with their near-impenetrable defence and physicality at the breakdown.
The visitors cruised into a ten-point lead after as many minutes when Aplon waltzed over at the end of flowing move.
Grant extended the lead to 17-3 just before half-time after Juan de Jongh started a counter attack from his own goal line which ended with the fly-half beating a handful of defenders to sneak over, capping a wonderful 100m team effort.
Horwill crashed over on the hour mark after a malfunction at a Stormers line-out, but the home side never realistically threatened to snatch victory.
Pens: Lucas, Harris
Tries: Aplon, Grant
Cons: Grant 2
Pens: Grant 3
Reds: 15 Luke Morahan, 14 Rod Davies, 13 Ben Tapuai, 12 Mike Harris, 11 Dom Shipperley, 10 Sam Lane, 9 Will Genia, 8 Radike Samo, 7 Beau Robinson, 6 Scott Higginbotham, 5 James Horwill (c), 4 Rob Simmons, 3 James Slipper, 2 James Hanson, 1 Ben Daley.
Replacements: 16 Albert Anae, 17 Greg Holmes, 18 Van Humphries, 19 Jake Schatz, 20 Liam Gill, 21 Ben Lucas, 22 Nick Frisby.
Stormers: 15 Joe Pietersen, 14 Gerhard van den Heever, 13 Bryan Habana, 12 Juan de Jongh, 11 Gio Aplon, 10 Peter Grant, 9 Dewaldt Duvenage, 8 Duane Vermeulen (capt), 7 Rynhardt Elstadt, 6 Siya Kolisi, 5 De Kock Steenkamp, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Brok Harris, 2 Tiaan Liebenberg, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Replacements: 16 Deon Fourie, 17 Frans Malherbe, 18 Nick Koster, 19 Nizaam Carr, 20 Louis Schreuder, 21 Burton Francis, 22 JP du Plessis.
Referee: Steve Walsh