The match dished up a thrilling contest between a DHL Stormers team who are now unbeaten in three matches so far, and a young and exciting Emirates Lions side.
Dan Kriel (centre) rounded off a beautiful team try for the Johannesburg team and when his skipper, Elton Jantjies (flyhalf), slotted a monster kick from the middle of the field to edge his team 30-26 ahead with just two minutes remaining, an upset win for the home team seemed to be on the cards.
However, the visitors from Cape Town refused to give up and they kept the ball alive in a thrilling last passage of play, which finished with Nel running in for the winning try. The win also allowed the DHL Stormers to break their winless streak since 2015 at Emirates Airline Park.
Juarno Augustus and Godlen Masimla each scored a try to hand the visiting side an early lead. However, the Emirates Lions soon replied with two tries of their own through Andries Coetzee and Courtnall Skosan, with the latter fielding a perfectly weighted chip kick from captain Jantjies to dive over next to the post.
That successful passage of play gave the Joburg side the lead for the first time in the match at 15-12, however, Springbok utility player Damian Willemse landed two successful penalty goals just before the break to nudge the visitors 18-15 in front at halftime.
The match erupted into life in the second half when both sides displayed a great willingness to attack. Like two heavyweight boxers, the teams traded attacking blows to the absolute delight of the crowd.
Sergeal Petersen (DHL Stormers wing) scored shortly after the resumption of play and Jantjies, who had an outstanding match, replied with a converted try.
Kriel then scored his first try of the competition on his birthday and when Jantjies landed his long range penalty it looked all over for the visitors (30-26).
However, Nel had other ideas when he managed to take the final pass of a last-gasp move to break the heart of the Johannesburg faithful.
Emirates Lions 30 (15) – Tries: Andries Coetzee, Courtnall Skosan, Elton Jantjies, Dan Kriel. Conversions: Jantjies (2). Penalty goals: Jantjies (2).
DHL Stormers 33 (18) – Tries: Juarno Augustus, Godlen Masimla, Sergeal Petersen, Ruhan Nel. Conversions: Damian Willemse, Jean-Luc du Plessis. Penalty goals: Willemse (3).