The Stormers underlined their Super 14 intentions with a well-taken 20-10 victory over the Brumbies in Cape Town on Saturday, scoring all their points within the first 27 minutes of the game.
The South Africans duly sneak into fourth in the Super 14 standings, but their inability to secure bonus-points could hurt them in the final reckoning.
It looked like a five-pointer at Newlands after the Stormers flew out of the blocks, but they could not add to their tally in the second half as they made numerous errors at crucial times.
They did hold out despite a Brumbies comeback to take a crucial victory with only two rounds of the competition left.
The home side started like men possessed as they ran up a 20-0 lead by the break.
It was classic Stormers running play to open the scoring, as Gcobani Bobo made a telling break up the middle, drew the fullback and then let it fly to captain Jean de Villiers who ran in untouched for the opening try. Peter Grant converted for an early 7-0 lead.
Eight minutes later, the Stormers caught the Brumbies offside, and Grant extended the lead with a penalty within the 22-metre area.
A crossfield kick from the Brumbies was plucked out of the air by De Villiers, who set off down the touchline on his way to the tryline with Bobo on his side.
At the crucial point to offload, Bobo was challenged early by Christian Lealiifano which left referee Steve Walsh to award a controversial penalty try. Grant converted to make the score 17-0.
Just before the break, another offside call against the Brumbies gave the Stormers a 20-0 lead to change ends with.
A strong blindside attack from the Brumbies went to Tyrone Smith, who brushed off three tackles before letting Adam Ashley-Cooper run in for an easy try and finally get some points on the board for the visitors.
The Brumbies tried, but some strong Stormers defence stopped them on every occasion. But with the pressure telling and the clock running down, the Brumbies finally scored from close range for Peter Kimlin to claim a try awarded by the TMO.
The Stormers tried their best in the dying moments to chase the bonus point, but in the end had to be happy with the win.
Man of the match: Jean De Villiers proved he's still full of life and was a constant threat to the Brumbies' midfield, but we'll hand this award to the effervescent Schalk Brits, who gets better with each passing game. It seems hugely unfair that John Smit's position in the Springbok pack has already been ratified - Britz is the man in form at present.
Moment of the match: The controversial penalty try sealed the deal as early as the 21st minute of the game. It deflated the Brumbies and allowed the Stormers to coast home.
Villian of the match: Someone needs a ticking off for that penalty try. Should it be Christian Lealiifano for his 'challenge' on Gcobani Bobo? Or Bobo for throwing his arms up in despair as Lealiifano closed in? Or referee Steve Walsh for awarded the score even though Bobo would have had plenty to do had he actually caught the pass? The choice is yours!
For the Stormers:
Tries: De Villiers, Penalty Try
Cons: Grant 3
Pens: Grant 2
For the Brumbies:
Tries: Ashley-Cooper, Kimlin
Stormers: 15 Conrad Jantjes, 14 Wylie Human, 13 Gcobani Bobo, 12 Jean de Villiers (c), 11 Sireli Naqelevuki, 10 Peter Grant, 9 Ricky Januarie, 8 Robbie Diack, 7 Francois Louw, 6 Luke Watson, 5 Andries Bekker, 4 Adriaan Fondse, 3 Brok Harris, 2 Schalk Brits, 1 Brian Mujati.
Replacements: 16 Deon Fourie, 17 Schalk Ferreira, 18 Ross Skeate, 19 Pieter Myburgh, 20 Bolla Conradie, 21 Tony Brown, 22 Dylan des Fountain.
Brumbies: 15 Mark Gerrard, 14 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 13 Stirling Mortlock (c),12 Tyrone Smith, 11 Francis Fainifo, 10 Christian Lealiifano, 9 Patrick Phibbs, 8 Julian Salvi, 7 George Smith, 6 Stephen Hoiles, 5 Mark Chisholm, 4 Alister Campbell, 3 Salesi Ma'afu, 2 Saia Faingaa, 1 Nic Henderson.
Replacements: 16 John Ulugia, 17 Guy Shepherdson, 18 Peter Kimlin, 19 Ben Alexander, 20 Mitchell Chapman, 21 Josh Holmes, 22 Afusipa Taumoepeau.
Referee: Steve Walsh (New Zealand)
Touch judges: Vinny Munro (New Zealand), Phillip Bosch (South Africa)
Television match official: Shaun Veldsman (South Africa)
Assessor: Dennis Immelman (South Africa)