The Stormers got their own back against New Zealand opposition when they beat the Blues 30-20 in a scrappy and ill-tempered Super Rugby match at Newlands on Friday night.
The Stormers conceded over 150 points in their three tour matches in New Zealand against the Crusaders, Highlanders and Hurricanes, and looked like they were staring another hiding the face after going 12-3 down in the first half. However, the South African side dug deep, especially in the second half, to return to winning ways after they lost their previous four matches going into the encounter with the Blues.
The Stormers dominated the early exchanges of the clash, but could only show a SP Marias penalty for their efforts in the first quarter. The home side butchered a number of lineouts on the Blues' goalline, especially during the time when winger Matt Duffy was off the field with a yellow card.
The Blues, though, should take some credit for keeping the Stormers out with their aggressive defence, which didn't allow the home side to gain momentum around the fridges and out wide. And, in the 22nd minute, the Blues showed the Stormers how to score against 14 men.
The home side's Springbok lock Eben Etzebeth was sent to the sin bin after he struck the Blues' Akira Ioane in the face with an open hand during a scuffle. Centre George Moala then opened the scoring for the Blues barely a minute later after a delicious offload in midfield by tighthead prop Charlie Faumuina.
Faumuina then produced another offload 11 minutes later to release hooker James Parson's out wide in the right corner for the Blues to take a 12-3 lead.
The Stormers, though, hit back with an important try just before the break after a planned lineout move. Captain Siya Kolisi went over to score after centre Shaun Treeby and Dillyn Leyds initially went close.
However, the Blues drew first blood early in the second half when Blake Gibson went over the line following a few phases and a trademark offload by Sonny Bill Williams.
The Stormers, though, definitely finished the stronger of the two teams. The home side, who had taken a pounding on their tour of New Zealand, stepped up physically in the last quarter of the match.
They tackled the Blues back behind the advantage line, and their scrum also started to come good. Their substitutes also made the desired impact, as returning centre Damian de Allende made his presence felt on attack and defence.
The Stormers went ahead on the hour mark when Leyds took a quick tap on the Blues' line, catching the defenders off guard before going over to score.
The Blues were then dealt a massive blow when Duffy was sent off for a second yellow card after he dived with his knees on top of Stormers wing Cheslin Kolbe. The Stormers then scored a try through replacement No. 8 Sikhumbuzo Notshe and Marais converted a penalty to give the Stormers a bit of breathing space and an eight-point lead, which they held onto until the end.