The Stormers have failed their first assignment in the United Rugby Championship, going down 22-18 to Italian outfit Benetton in Treviso on Saturday.
AS IT HAPPENED: Benetton 22-18 Stormers
With an 18-7 lead after 45 minutes, it looked like it would be a case of “job done” for head coach John Dobson and his charges.
The visitors were poor in the last 30 minutes of the contest, though, while Benetton got stronger as the contest progressed.
By the end, the Stormers were battling to get hold of the ball and they were being bossed in most departments.
There is certainly room for improvement and even when they were ahead, the Stormers were far from clinical.
This, after all, is the Benetton side that humbled the Bulls in the final of the Rainbow Cup back in June.
There was a somewhat encouraging debut for Manie Libbok at flyhalf, while Nama Xaba was also hugely influential for the Stormers off the bench, but ultimately there was not enough quality on the day for the Capetonians.
The Stormers had the perfect start when Rikus Pretorius gathered to score after a Warrick Gelant grubber had been deflected, but Benetton hit back to take a 7-5 lead after catching the Stormers defence napping somewhat.
Libbok then kicked two penalties to give the visitors an 11-7 lead at half-time, and when Ruhan Nel took advantage of some sloppy tackling on 45 minutes, the Stormers had manufactured an 18-7 lead and looked well on their way.
Benetton, though, then turned down an easy three points to set up a rolling maul that paid huge dividends when Ivan Nemer went over.
That made it 18-14 with 20 minutes to play, and when flyhalf Tomas Albornoz slotted a 40m penalty just a couple of minutes later, it was down to 18-17.
Benetton then completed their comeback with a beautifully worked try that came as a result of wave after wave of attack, and it was Tommaso Menoncello who finished off the move down the left flank.
Benetton 22 (7)
Tries: Gianmarco Lucchesi, Ivan Nemer, Tommaso Menoncello
Conversions: Tomas Albornoz (2)
Stormers 18 (11)
Tries: Rikus Pretorius, Ruhan Nel
Conversion: Manie Libbok
Penalties: Libbok (2)