Late ill discipline cruelled what might have been, as the Queensland Reds tumbled to a 40-22 loss to the Stormers in Cape Town.
After leading 17-10 at the break, the Stormers won four tries to three at their Newlands stronghold on Saturday (Sunday AEST), with five-eighth Jean-Luc du Plessis and his replacement Brandon Thomson enjoying perfect matches from the kicking tee.
The second half burst into life with three tries in the space of seven minutes after halftime, and from which the Reds briefly held the lead, thanks to maiden Super Rugby tries to fullback Karmichael Hunt and left winger Eto Nabuli.
Stormers halfback Nic Groom hit straight back, however, scoring against the upright in his 50th Super Rugby match and regaining the lead.
Last quarter discipline and bench impact was always going to be crucial in the fast-paced game and, after Reds five-eighth Jake McIntyre pushed a penalty goal to the right which would have clawed back a narrow lead, Thomson on Super Rugby debut calmly potted three penalty goals in ten minutes to claim a 33-22 advantage.
Nabuli looked like he had grabbed a late double when he again dived into the left corner, only to drag a foot into touch while lunging at the line.
Stormers prop Vincent Koch then crashed over after following a Huw Jones break after the final siren, with the Thomson conversion sealing the 40-22 win.
Both sides started the game with their attacking intent obvious, though it was the Stormers who were able to best convert their early opportunities. Converted tries to both wingers, Kobus van Wyk and Leolin Zas, respectively, saw the Stormers nullify Jake McIntyres opening penalty and jump out to a 14-3 lead.
This high-tempo approach came with its risks, however, with both sides guilty of unforced handling errors throughout the first half.
When Queensland did finally gain some territory advantage, flanker Liam Gill added a try following a strong Reds scrum.
Sadly, this was one of the rare occasions the Reds spent any time in the opposition half before the break, and the Stormers held strong before heading to the sheds leading by seven.
Winless on their South African tour, the Reds host the Cheetahs in Brisbane next Saturday night.