Stormers defy lowly position to outplay Force
Stormers's fly-half Peter Grant of South Africa, kicks the ball during the Super Rugby 15 match against Western Force at the Newlands Stadium, on May 17, 2014, in Cape Town - by Rodger Bosch
The South Africans applied relentless first-half pressure to build a 17-3 half-time lead and kept the sixth-place Australians try-less until nine minutes from time.
By that stage of the match at Newlands stadium, the home side had only 13 men after left-wing Cheslin Kolbe and full-back Jaco Taute were yellow carded.
Force had lock Adam Coleman sin binned late in the first half, and his absence proved costly with Stormers scoring 14 points while numerically advantaged.
Stormers spent virtually the entire opening half camped in the Force half and were not flattered by the 14-point advantage at the break.
Heroic defending kept the home team at bay for 16 minutes before Peter Grant, making his 100th Super Rugby appearance, kicked a close-range penalty.
Force entered Stormers' half for the first time when play restarted, but were soon 10 points behind as the South Africans finally unlocked a brilliant defence.
The ball was moved quickly along the line after another maul close to the Force try-line and Kolbe sent centre Juan de Jongh over in the corner.
Grant converted from almost the same position that he failed to goal an early penalty attempt on a warn, clear evening in the south-western city.
Force closed the gap to seven points when South Africa-born fly-half Sias Ebersohn kicked a close-range penalty in front of the posts.
An injury crisis that has plagued Stormers this season got worse on 24 minutes when loose-head prop Brok Harris was forced to go off.
Referee Chris Pollock warned Force skipper and flank Matt Hodgson over continuous infringements by his forwards and yellow-carded Coleman for collapsing a maul near half-time.
The referee punished the Perth outfit more severely just before the break, awarding the home side a penalty try after a five-metre scrum turned into a shambles. Grant converted.
After the boost of winning an early second-half scrum against the head with seven men, Force found themselves back in the familiar role of desperate defence.
Stormers felt they had a third try when hooker Deon Fourie crossed the line, but the television match official (TMO) ruled he had been held up.
However, the Cape Town outfit did score within a minute as giant lock Ruan Botha brushed off the challenge of diminutive scrum-half Ian Prior to touch down.
Grant maintained his perfect conversions' record in the match and, trailing 24-3, the Force appeared to be heading for a fourth loss in 11 matches this season.
The rare sight of Force applying pressure close to Stormers' line ended with the TMO ruling out a possible try owing to a forward pass.
As Stormers battled to keep out the rejuvenated visitors, infringements mounted and Kolbe and Taute were sin-binned within three minutes.
Stormers defence was finally breached when Hodgson went over, but Ebersohn saw his conversion fade to the left of the posts.