CAPE TOWN, May 12 (Reuters) - The Stormers needed a strong rearguard action to hold on for a 16-14 triumph over the Cheetahs in an all-South African Super Rugby match at Newlands on Saturday.
The first half was one-way traffic with the Stormers cruising into a 16-0 lead at the break.
Flyhalf Peter Grant kicked three penalties in the first 16 minutes as the Cheetahs repeatedly infringed.
Lock Eben Etzebeth also muscled his way through three defenders to score the Stormers only try in the 24th minute, Grant converting.
The Cheetahs, though, were a different team in the second half and a series of top-class drives by their forwards took them deep into the opposition 22 where a slick pass by wing Willie le Roux allowed fullback Hennie Daniller to score in the corner.
Replacement flyhalf Riaan Smit kicked a fine conversion from the touchline to close the gap to 16-7.
Stormers flanker Rynardt Elstadt then received a yellow card for kneeing Cheetahs wing Cameron Jacobs in the head, an incident that sparked a mass brawl.
The Cheetahs grabbed their second try when Le Roux intercepted the ball following a ruck and sprinted 90 metres for a spectacular touchdown.
Smit booted the conversion but the Stormers hung on for a victory that kept them one point behind the Bulls at the top of the South African Conference.
Writing by Ken Borland in Johannesburg, editing by Tony Jimenez