The Stormers got their overseas tour off to a losing start on Saturday, going down 30-23 to the Chiefs in Hamilton.
After cruising to a 20-3 lead at half-time, the wheels came off the Stormers bus after the break as their hosts fought back, scoring 17 unanswered points early in the second period.
It's the second consecutive defeat for the South African conference leaders, both to Kiwi sides, following last week's loss to the Crusaders at Newlands.
Referee Stuart Dickinson shouldn't expect too many Christmas cards from Cape Town this year after a dubious penalty try ignited the Chiefs comeback.
Controversial decisions aside, the Chiefs must be given credit for adapting their game plan and clinically converting their opportunities.
Under the cosh - especially up front - in the earlier stages, the home side stepped up the intensity to force the Stormers into more and more mistakes.
Stephen Donald and Peter Grant traded early penalties to leave the visitors 6-3 up approaching the end of the first quarter when Gio Aplon struck with a magnificent try, hitting the line at pace in a setpiece move, stepping around Mils Muliaina and Sitiveni Sivivatu before turning on the gas and tearing away to score.
The Stormers were using the rolling maul to devastating effect and it came as no surprise when they rumbled over from short range after an attacking line-out to take a 17-point lead into the half-time break.
The Chiefs were given a lifeline soon after the restart when referee Dickinson and television match official Shane McDermott awarded the hosts a penalty try. Dickinson also sent Aplon to the sin bin, adjudging the Stormers wing to have interfered with Richard Kahui's chase to his own kick ahead and preventing the centre from scoring.
To call the decision controversial would be an understatement and it swung the momentum back in the Chiefs' favour.
The home side were right back in the game a few minutes later when Donald kicked over the top, a cruel bounce got the better of Conrad Jantjes and Sivivatu was able race onto the ball and score untouched.
Donald's conversion and penalty a few minutes later leveled the scores as the Stormers collectively fell apart.
Grant replied with the Stormers only points of the half but the Chiefs were next to cross the whitewash to take an unlikely lead into the final quarter after Liam Messam managed to get to squeeze the ball onto the try-line under a pile of bodies to cap a period of sustained pressure.
Donald added another penalty with fifteen minutes left to open the gap to seven points.
Forced to play catch-up rugby, the Stormers were a pale reflection of the side the dominated the first 40 minutes, raising serious questions about their title credentials.
Tries: Penalty try, Sivivatu, Messam
Cons: Donald 3
Pens: Donald 3
Tries: Aplon, Burger
Cons: Grant 2
Pens: Grant 3
Yellow card: Aplon (Stormers - 43rd min)
Chiefs: 15 Mils Muliaina (c), 14 Lelia Masaga, 13 Richard Kahui, 12 Dwayne Sweeney, 11 Sitiveni Sivivatu, 10 Stephen Donald, 9 Brendon Leonard, 8 Fritz Lee, 7 Liam Messam, 6 Taiasina Tuifua, 5 Romana Graham, 4 Craig Clarke, 3 Ben Afeaki, 2 Hika Elliot, 1 Toby Smith.
Replacements: 16 Aled de Malmanche, 17 Sona Taumalolo, 18 Isaac Ross, 19 Sam Cane, 20 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 21 Tim Nanai-Williams, 22 Jackson Willison.
Stormers: 15 Conrad Jantjes, 14 Gio Aplon, 13 Jaque Fourie, 12 Jean De Villiers, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Peter Grant, 9 Ricky Januarie, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Francois Louw, 6 Schalk Burger (c), 5 Andries Bekker, 4 Rynhardt Elstadt, 3 Brok Harris, 2 Deon Fourie, 1 Wicus Blaauw.
Replacements: 16 Tiaan Liebenberg, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 De Kock Steenkamp, 19 Anton Van Zyl, 20 Dewaldt Duvenage, 21 Lionel Cronje, 22 Juan De Jongh.
Referee: Stuart Dickinson (Australia)