A late converted try from Michael Hooper helped the Waratahs defeat the Stormers 32-30 in a tight Super Rugby clash at Newlands on Saturday.
Stormers wing Leolin Zas was sent off for a dangerous tackle in the second-half but the 'Tahs had to wait until the 78th minute to secure victory when Hooper powered over, with Bernard Foley kicking the key points.
The Australian side's other tries came from Kurtley Beale, Israel Folau and Rob Horne while Schalk Burger and Pieter-Steph du Toit (2) got the Stormers' five-pointers, with Jean-Luc du Plessis slotting 15 points.
It had looked like the Stormers were going to head into the break in a strong position at 5-14 to the good but a 'Tahs try made it 12-14.
The hosts were behind on nine minutes after two Du Plessis penalty misses were capitalised on by the Waratahs, with centre Beale collecting a nice offload from fly-half Foley to run in. The playmaker could not add the conversion but it was a warning to the Stormers.
The South Africans were not rattled though and were soon in front at Newlands when a lovely reverse ball from Nic Groom sent Burger over from a metre out. The veteran took a bang to his nose for his troubles, but the pain was lessened when he saw Du Plessis add the extras.
Foley missed the chance to put his side back in front soon after when he was off-target from the tee and the Stormers made him pay on 25 minutes, with Du Toit starting and finishing a superb try. His break into the 22 was followed by patient rugby before he scored for 5-14.
But then came a much-needed try for the Waratahs, which came from nothing. An incredible line from Folau caught the home side's midfield defence clutching thin air and with Foley slotting the extras it was a two-point ball game as the teams headed for the dressing rooms.
After the break it was very much a kicking contest between Du Plessis and Foley, with the duo sending over two penalties apiece before a key moment in the game. With Foley rising to collect a high kick, Zas made contact with the fly-half who fell awkwardly. The wing saw red.
The Stormers desperately needed to keep the 'Tahs at arm's length and a third Du Plessis penalty helped as he made it 18-23 on 62 minutes.
It looked like the numbers had told when Horne's score three minutes later pushed the Waratahs in front. But back came the Stormers through lock Du Toit with a smart carry off a ruck taking them back into the lead at 25-30 with only seven minutes remaining.
But then Hooper's last-ditch carry under the uprights made Foley's conversion a formality as the Waratahs celebrated a vital away win.
Tries: Burger, Du Toit 2
Cons: Du Plessis 3
Pens: Du Plessis 3
Red card: Zas (56 mins – dangerous tackle)
Tries: Beale, Folau, Horne, Hooper
Cons: Foley 3
Pens: Foley 2
Stormers: 15 Cheslin Kolbe, 14 Kobus van Wyk, 13 Juan de Jongh (cc), 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Leolin Zas, 10 Jean-Luc du Plessis, 9 Nic Groom, 8 Schalk Burger, 7 Sikhumbuzo Notshe, 6 Nizaam Carr, 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4 Rynhardt Elstadt, 3 Frans Malherbe (cc), 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 JC Janse van Rensburg
Replacements: 16 Scarra Ntubeni, 17 Oli Kebble, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 JD Schickerling, 20 Siya Kolisi, 21 Louis Schreuder, 22 Brandon Thomson, 23 Huw Jones
Waratahs: 15 Andrew Kellaway, 14 Reece Robinson, 13 Israel Folau, 12 Kurtley Beale, 11 Rob Horne, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Jed Holloway, 7 Michael Hooper (c), 6 Dean Mumm, 5 Will Skelton, 4 David Dennis, 3 Tom Robertson, 2 Hugh Roach, 1 Paddy Ryan
Replacements: 16 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 17 Jeremy Tilse, 18 Angus Ta’avao, 19 Sam Lousi, 20 Wycliff Palu, 21 Matt Lucas, 22 David Horwitz, 23 Matt Carraro
Referee: Mike Fraser
Assistant Referees: Paul Williams, Cwengile Jadezweni
TMO: Shaun Veldsman