Rugby Championship

'Golden oldies' inspired us - Creevy

2015-08-09 13:06
Agustin Creevy (Getty Images)

Durban - Argentina skipper Agustin Creevy said the presence of former Pumas in Durban helped inspire a stunning and historic 37-25 Rugby Championship triumph over South Africa on Saturday.

"The presence of these rugby heroes of our nation was a major factor in the success," the 30-year-old hooker said.

Survivors of the 1965 Pumas - the first Argentine rugby team to play in South Africa - celebrated the 50th anniversary of the pioneering trip by watching the Test at Kings Park stadium.

And when the final whistle blew and the Pumas triumphed for the first time against the Springboks after 19 failed attempts and also won away in the Championship for the first time, they moved toward the 'golden oldies' and clapped.

The gesture was returned as the group of smartly attired ex-national team players, wearing dark suits, blue ties and white shirts, stood to acknowledge a great day for Argentine rugby.

There have been few such days recently with the Pumas humiliated 73-13 by the Springboks in Soweto just two years ago, and the win in Durban was only the second in 21 Championship outings.

But those facts were distant memories after three-try wing Juan Imhoff helped restore Argentine pride following heavy losses last month to New Zealand and Australia.

"I feel so much pride," said official man of the match Imhoff, who created the 100-second first try for centre Marcelo Bosch before scoring two in the first half and one just after half-time.

His third try on 43 minutes was the killer blow as second-ranked South Africa suffered a third consecutive loss, to rivals ranked six places lower, after recent failures against the Wallabies and All Blacks.

Down 27-13 at half-time, the Springboks believed play had not restarted after an injury stoppage, and were caught napping on their tryline when Argentina flyhalf Juan Martin Hernandez took a quick tap penalty.

The playmaker raced toward the corner, sent Imhoff over, and converted the try for a 31-point advantage that was never in serious danger of being overtaken.

Coach Daniel Hourcade, who has witnessed some heavy beatings since succeeding Santiago Phelan two years ago, said the mental toughness of the Pumas played a key role.

"It was a crucial factor," he said. "To beat the Springboks you must be mentally strong.

"We played well tonight and won the mental battle against one of the strongest rugby nations in the world.

"I believe we surprised our opponents, starting with the try by Marcelo (Bosch) just over one minute after the kick-off."

South Africa get a quick chance for revenge next Saturday at the Velez Sarsfield football stadium in Buenos Aires.

The match will celebrate the first Pumas tour of South Africa 50 years ago and be the final Test for both nations before the September 18 World Cup kick-off in England.

Twice champions South Africa are in Pool B at the global showpiece with Japan, Samoa, Scotland and the United States.

Argentina, whose best World Cup showing was third place in 2007, play title-holders New Zealand, Georgia, Namibia and Tonga in Pool C.

Read more on:    argentina  |  rugby championship  |  rugby

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