The Stormers made the perfect start to their four-match trip of Australasia after seeing off the Hurricanes 18-16 in Palmerston North.
The Stormers made the perfect start to their four-match trip of Australasia after seeing off the Hurricanes 18-16 in Palmerston North on Friday.
In a tight tussle played in windy conditions, both sides bagged two tries apiece with Joe Pietersen's boot ultimately proving the difference between the two sides.
The Stormers' fourth victory of the season takes them to seventh place on the overall standings and second on level points (28) with the Bulls in the South African Conference.
The hosts dominated much of the game before momentum swung with under a quarter left to play when wing Gio Aplon touched down for the match-winner to wrest the lead from the Hurricanes.
Some more Aplon magic, this time on defence, rescued a potential Hurricanes try-scoring moment in the final ten minutes and the Stormers worked their way into the 'Canes' 22 where they finished the match with some ruthless defence.
The hosts took an early lead after Barrett raised the flags with his first penalty goal of the night, but the capacity crowd at FMG Stadium had to wait until the 26th minute before the Hurricanes pivot added his second three-pointer.
With Hurricanes lock Jeremy Thrush sent to the bin with 12 minutes of the first half to play, the visitors had their tails up when flank Michael Rhodes burrowed over for the Stormers opening try.
Pietersen's conversion put his team in front for the first time, but the lead didn't last long.
Despite being a man down, the Hurricanes hit back shortly before half-time when wing Matt Proctor crossed for a try thanks to a superb pass from Barrett.
Bryan Habana, returning from injury in a week in which he was denied a Springboks contract, showed he remains one of the fastest men in the game when he charged down the conversion – a pivotal achievement in a match decided by two points.
The Hurricanes led 11-7 at half-time, however Pietersen put the Stormers back in front (11-13) after the break with two consecutive penalties.
But the home side replied with another try – this time through Andre Taylor after the full-back dived over in the left-hand corner. Barrett once again failed to add the extras which proved costly as it kept the Stormers within touching distance (16-13).
A strong Stormers scrum then saw number eight Duane Vermeulen power down the blindside before the ball was quickly recycled for Aplon to slice through a hole and use all his strength to dot the ball down in the tackle.
The wind cost Pietersen the conversion, but the try nudged the Stormers into the lead which the Stormers never surrendered.
Tries: Proctor, Taylor
Pens: Barrett 2
Yellow card: Thrush (28 mins)
Tries: Rhodes, Aplon
Pens: Pietersen 2
Hurricanes: 15 Andre Taylor, 14 Alapati Leiua, 13 Conrad Smith (c), 12 Tim Bateman, 11 Matt Proctor, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Victor Vito, 7 Karl Lowe, 6 Brad Shields, 5 Jason Eaton, 4 Jeremy Thrush, 3 Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, 2 Motu Matu'u, 1 Ben Franks.
Replacements: 16 Ash Dixon, 17 Ben May, 18 Mark Reddish, 19 Faifili Levave, 20 Ardie Savea, 21 Chris Smylie, 22 Tusi Pisi.
Stormers: 15 Joe Pietersen, 14 Gio Aplon, 13 Juan de Jongh, 12 Jean de Villiers (c), 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Gary van Aswegen, 9 Dewaldt Duvenage, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Michael Rhodes, 6 Siya Kolisi, 5 Andries Bekker, 4 De Kock Steenkamp, 3 Pat Cilliers, 2 Deon Fourie, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Replacements: 16 Scarra Ntubeni, 17 Brok Harris, 18 Rynhardt Elstadt, 19 Nizaam Carr, 20 Nic Groom, 21 Louis Schreuder, 22 Damian de Allende.
Referee: Steve Walsh (Australia)