Rugby Championship

Imhoff broke Bok ‘dam wall’

2015-08-11 12:12
Juan Imhoff (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - South Africa have played Test rugby since 1891 ... and until Saturday never suffered the indignity of seeing an opponent register a hat-trick of tries against them.

But then along came the slightly unlikely figure of Argentina’s left wing Juan Imhoff at Kings Park, exposing their defence en route to touch-downs in the 22nd, 30th and 41st minutes of the visitors’ thoroughly deserved maiden victory (37-25) over the Springboks.

The 27-year-old from Rosario may not have realised it at the time, but he had achieved a notable milestone - there had been 41 prior instances of individuals dotting twice in a Test against the Boks, but no one had previously managed three.

Closest players to doing it have arguably been Christian Cullen (New Zealand) and Matt Giteau (Australia) - the former got a brace of tries as many as four times against SA, whilst the latter, who is still playing at the top level, has registered a pair of tries on three occasions against the Boks.

So Imhoff landing his hat-trick can be considered an additional ding to battered South African egos this week – remember that the Boks traditionally pride themselves on uncompromising defence and someone like All Black great Jonah Lomu never got a single try (among his 37 in all Tests) against us.

The 28-cap Argentinean flier has previously experienced scoring four personal tries in a Test, but that feat came against minnow neighbours Chile - currently 23rd on the IRB rankings ladder - in an 89-6 rout of them in 2009.

Bok players themselves boast umpteen hat-tricks down the years, and seven belong to an even more elite school: Jongi Nokwe, Bryan Habana (Imhoff’s equivalent in the No 11 jersey on Saturday), Stefan Terblanche, Pieter Rossouw and Chester Williams have all notched four tries in one Test, Terblanche has also managed five, and the record Bok haul for a single match remains the preserve of Tonderai Chavhanga (six against Uruguay in East London, 2005).

Imhoff is now the most prolific try-scorer ever in a single match against South Africa, while the record for most points in a Test against the Boks still belongs to the Wallabies’ Stirling Mortlock (29 at Melbourne in 2000).

*Follow our chief writer on Twitter: @RobHouwing

Read more on:    argentina  |  springboks  |  rugby championship  |  rugby

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