Stormers 38-28 Harlequins: Late show not enough as Quins knocked out of Champions Cup
The South African side appeared to be heading for victory as they established a 32-7 lead before the final eight minutes at the DHL Stadium, but Quins gave them food for thought with three converted tries.
England number eight Alex Dombrandt, with his second score of the game, started the late push and Andre Esterhuizen and Joe Marchant then crossed to make it 32-28 as fly-half Marcus Smith late scored his authority on the play, but it was as close as Quins would get.
The Stormers showed their colors from the first minute, preparing to kick from inside their 22 but instead launched an attack that went wide left, then wide right before flanker Deon Fourie does run a support line inside to complete the try. Manie Libbok started the move and added the conversion.
Harlequins fought back, denying a penalty and heading for the corner before Dombrandt rushed in front to cross.
Defending URC champions Stormers showed they have their own variation in lineups, also kicking into the corner and then throwing long to set up a drive that the prop Steven Kitshoff is finished.
Another corner kick and this time the Stormers went short but the result was the same as Fourie spun to the back of the maul for his second down.
Harlequins had a chance to get back into the game before half-time but when they cleared the ball away the final pass to winger Cadan Murley was loose when a try was in progress if he had gone to the hand.
Quins also had a series of kickable penalties as the clock ticked towards and beyond 40 minutes, but a knock-on meant they finished the half with no more points when a penalty would have put them back in a score – Stormers entering the interval 17- 7 ahead.
The first score in the second half was always going to be important and home full-back Damian Willemse did a brilliant job of securing it, dabbing the ball into the corner as his whole body was airborne on the other side of the sideline.
The Stormers attempted a fifth down through the substitution of Willie Engelbrecht from another line-up before Quins suddenly came to life as Smith began pulling the strings for Dombrandt, Esterhuizen and Marchant – with the game’s last move – to score.