The Stormers got in some tough preparation for next weekend's Super Rugby quarter-final against the Chiefs by winning a hard-fought final group game 41-33 against the Bulls at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria on Saturday.
An open running game, characterised by slick handling, pace and creativity among the backs and some pounding forward play, particularly from most-recent Springbok captain Eben Etzebeth, provided Robbie Fleck's team with a decent warm-up for the visit of their New Zealand opponents at Newlands next weekend.
The Bulls, despite being out of the running for a play-off place, attempted to give coach Nollis Marais a decent send-off after a horror season but again fell short. The real winners were the sparse crowd who saw 11 tries and a game of constant commitment through the 80 minutes with the result only settled right at the end.
It took eight minutes of this classic clash on the South African rugby calendar for the first try, awarded after a lengthy review by the Japanese referee Shuhei Kubo to Jason Jenkins of the Bulls, who carried the ball over after Duncan Matthews and Jan Serfontein had broken the Stormers' line.
But an individual try from Cheslin Kolbe, also awarded after some time checking the television slow-motion pictures, had the Stormers into the game almost straight away and four minutes later Sikhumbuzo Notshe made it 12-7 when he crashed over after some good running of the angles by the Stormers, including a sharp break by Jano Vermaak.
But Matthews levelled the score in the 18th minute with a display of pace as Warrick Gelant and Jesse Kriel showed initial flair and speed.
Kriel then got a try of his own with the impressive Matthews providing a one-handed backhanded pass as the Bulls look to put last weekend's embarrassing loss to the Southern Kings behind them.
But the half-time score was 22-21 to the Stormers as Dillian Leyds went over for the Cape Town side just befoie the break.
The Stormers then extended their lead to 13 points with tries from Siya Kolisi and teenage flyhalf Damian Willemse, who has made a dream start to his Super Rugby career.
It seemed then the contest was over but the home side had other ideas and came right back into contention before the final 10 minutes with two tries of their own.
First Piet van Zyl darted off the scrum to score and then Kriel took advantage of a sloppy pass in the Stormers' midfield to pick up the loose ball to score a second try. That reduced the Stormers' lead to a single point.
The outcome was settled in the last minute... the Bulls broke to set off only for Burger Odendaal to lose the ball in the tackle allowing Leyds to start a counter attack which 7s superstar Seabelo Senatla finished off with a spectacular swallow dive between the poles.