CAPE TOWN, March 16 (Reuters) - Fullback Joe Pietersen scored 17 points to steer the unbeaten Stormers to a 27-17 victory over the Auckland Blues at Newlands on Friday, their third successive Super Rugby win.
For the depleted Blues it was their third defeat in four outings and their third straight reverse at the hands of the South Africans.
The visitors competed well despite being without four New Zealand World Cup winners.
The Stormers dominated the opening hour, going 24-3 up when centre and skipper Jean de Villiers recorded his team's second try after wing Bryan Habana had earlier touched down in the 15th minute.
The Blues then shifted up several gears and took the game to the home side.
Almost from the restart from De Villiers's try, the Blues regained possession and carried the ball through 11 phases before centre Benson Stanley finished in the corner.
Seven minutes later the Blues notched a second try through prop Charlie Faumuina which flyhalf Gareth Anscombe converted to ensure a jittery ending for the Stormers.
Pietersen, who also booted a conversion, settled the nerves with his fifth penalty of the game seven minutes from time.
(Writing by Craig Ray, editing by Tony Jimenez)