Scott van Breda scored a last-gasp try to boost the Stormers to a 26-19 win in a warm-up game on Saturday.
The Stormers looked to be in clinical touch early on, with Siya Kolisi crashing over the tryline in the sixth minute after a well executed lineout maul. However, as the game wore on, it was the Bulls who controlled possession and created more scoring chances.
The Bulls were guilty of butchering a few opportunities, which was to be expected in a warm-up game of this nature. But the persistence of the pack eventually paid off, as they went on to score two tries from close range and take a 12-5 lead right before the half-time break.
The Stormers hit back shortly after the restart, with Kolisi's second try strongly resembling his first. The Stormers' maul from the lineout proved unstoppable, and with Demetri Catrakilis adding the conversion, the Stormers had drawn level at 12-12.
Victor Matfield made his long-awaited return to rugby when he came off the Bulls bench and replaced Grant Hattingh in the 49th minute. The Springbok legend acquitted himself well, and even managed to steal one of the Stormers' lineout feeds.
This cameo must have inspired the Bulls to lift their performance, as Arno Botha scored in the 59th minute to move the hosts back into the lead.
But when Francois Hougaard received a yellow card for a professional foul, the Bulls were left shorthanded on defence. The Stormers exploited their advantage almost immediately, with Catrakilis scoring and converting his own try.
Van Breda, one of the Stormers' new recruits, then scored with just two minutes remaining to secure the victory.
Meanwhile, in the curtain-raiser to this clash, the Lions B side rallied from a 19-7 half-time deficit to beat the Bulls' second stringers 26-24.
Bulls –Tries: Dean Greyling, Jono Ross. Arno Botha. Conversions: Louis Fouché (2).
Stormers – Tries: Siya Kolisi (2), Demetri Catrakilis, Scott van Breda. Conversions: Catrakilis (3).
Bulls – 15 Jürgen Visser, 14 Akona Ndungane, 13 JJ Engelbrecht, 12 Jan Serfontein, 11 Bjorn Basson, 10 Louis Fouché, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 Pierre Spies (c), 7 Arno Botha, 6 Deon Stegmann, 5 Grant Hattingh, 4 Flip vd Merwe, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Callie Visagie, 1 Dean Greyling.
Subs: 16 Bandise Maku, 17 Marcel van der Merwe, 18 Hencus van Wyk, 19 Jono Ross, 20 Rudy Paige, 21 Handré Pollard, 22 Ulrich Beyers, 23 Travis Ismaiel, 24 Victor Matfield.
Stormers – 15 Gio Aplon, 14 Kobus van Wyk, 13 Juan de Jongh, 12 Jean de Villiers (c), 11 Damian de Allende, 10 Demetri Catrakilis, 9 Louis Schreuder, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Schalk Burger, 6 Siya Kolisi, 5 Ruan Botha, 4 Rynhardt Elstadt, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Scarra Ntubeni, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Subs: 16 Tiaan Liebenberg, 17 Oli Kebble, 18 Alistair Vermaak/Justin Ackerman, 19 Jean Kleyn, 20 Michael Rhodes, 21 Nizaam Carr, 22 Nic Groom, 23 Gary van Aswegen, 24 Scott van Breda, 25 Ryno Eksteen, 26 Deon Fourie.
Photo: Anne Laing/ HSM Images