For all intents and purposes, it looked like 2012 would be the year of the Stormers after they finished top of the table with an impressive 14-2 record.
And while they might not have scored many tries - they registered the lowest tally with 28 - their defensive game strangled the life out of teams. They conceded just 254 points in the regular season - 77 less than the next best defence (Brumbies).
However they choked when it mattered the most, with the Sharks inflicting a 26-19 victory over them in Cape Town - meaning the wait for a maiden Super Rugby title goes on.
Quite simply, though, that loss will be all the motivation Allister Coetzee's side will need heading into this campaign.
The Stormers have looked to profit from the relegation of the Lions by snapping up a number of their top players - including Jaco Taute, Elton Jantjies, Patric Cilliers and Ruan Botha.
And the signing of Jantjies could see them look to play a more open style and fully utilise the talents Bryan Habana, Gio Aplon and Gerhard van den Heever.