The DHL Stormers started their Vodacom Super Rugby Unlocked campaign with a hard-fought 23-17 win against the Emirates Lions at DHL Newlands on Saturday.
Two tries in the second half were enough to see the home side come from behind and claim a win at a DHL Newlands that was missing the Faithful.
The teams traded early penalties, with first Elton Jantjies and then Damian Willemse splitting the uprights to lock it up at 3-3.
The DHL Stormers were enjoying early territorial dominance and the visitors were first to come from their own 22 for the opening try, with wing Sibahle Maxwane breaking through for what would be the only try in the first half.
The DHL Stormers had plenty of possession, but were battling to make it count, with handling errors at key times robbing them of momentum.
The Emirates Lions thought they had a second try when centre Burger Odendaal went through, but it was disallowed because of a forward pass.
The DHL Stormers would be the last team to score in the first half through a second Willemse penalty, but the home side wnet into the break 10-6 down, despite having made most of the running in the game.
The home side were first to score in the second half, with Willemse kicking his third penalty from 40 metres out following a breakdown infirngement from the Emirates Lions in the middle of the park.
The DHL Stormers were up quickly on defence and it was rewarded when centre Rikus Pretorius grabbed an intercept near halfway then raced upfield to score. Once converted by Willemse the DHL Stormers were up 16-10 heading into the final half-hour.
They kept the pressure on and after a big scrum they were on the attack again in the opposition 22. The ball was sent wide to centre Dan du Plessis who spun to score the second try.
The visitors responded with their second try with just eight minutes left, as Jantjies finished another counter-attacking move, but those were to be the last points as the DHL Stormers held on to start their season with a win.
For DHL Stormers:
Tries: Pretorius, Du Plessis
Pens: Willemse 3
For Emirates Lions:
Tries: Maxwane, Jantjies
Cons: Jantjies 2
Photo: Steven Kitshoff. (Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images)