Rugby Championship

Scrappy Boks edge Pumas

2013-08-24 23:08
Eben Etzebeth (AP)
Mendoza - A last-minute penalty by flyhalf Morné Steyn sealed an unimpressive 22-17 win for South Africa over Argentina Saturday in a scrappy Rugby Championship Test here on Saturday.

As it happened: Argentina v SA

VIDEO: Eye gouge on Francois Louw

After a humiliating 60-point defeat in Soweto last weekend, the passionate Pumas were the better side in chilly Mendoza for much of the match and led until eight minutes from time.

Steyn slotted two penalties in the closing minutes to keep South Africa top of the table - level on nine points with New Zealand but ahead on points difference.

South Africa started with the same side that won 73-13 in the first round while Argentina made five changes and still lacked injured skipper and No 8 Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe.

Desperate to put the huge loss behind them, the Pumas made a fiery start and were ahead within two minutes when flanker Juan Martin Leguizamon dived over in the corner.

The veteran took the ball after a line-out near the tryline, burst into the short side and swivelled past several Springboks to dot the ball down with centre Felipe Contepomi converting.

Argentina were struggling in the early scrums and South African pressure earned a penalty on nine minutes which ace goal-kicker Steyn placed between the posts.

Within two minutes a far more fired-up Pumas side than that of last weekend regained a seven-point advantage as veteran Contepomi kicked a penalty.

But South Africa drew level on 15 minutes as Steyn converted from the touchline a try by left-wing Bjorn Basson in the left corner at the Estadio Malvinas Argentinas.

After brave defending repelled several Springbok attempts to score in the right corner, Argentina failed to clear and the visitors passed along the backline for Basson to sprint over.

Juandré Kruger went over the tryline soon after only for the score to be disallowed because fellow lock Eben Etzebeth had knocked on in an aerial duel.

South Africa opted to kick for touch a penalty well within the range of Steyn and Argentina drove the green and gold back to leave the visitors questioning their decision.

A Contepomi penalty drifted to the right from in front of the posts, but Argentina were back in front on 37 minutes when centre Marcelo Bosch dived over near the posts.

Patient multi-phase Pumas pressure took them within a few metres of the line and Bosch drove between centre JJ Engelbrecht and prop Jannie du Plessis for a try Contepomi converted.

Steyn narrowed the gap to four points in first-half stoppage time by kicking his second penalty and four minutes after half-time he repeated the feat to leave just one point between the sides.

With Contepomi replaced by Santiago Fernandez, Bosch took over as goal kicker and was not far off target with a long-range attempt midway through the second half.

With 20 minutes to go it was 17-16 to Argentina - a far cry from seven days ago when the Springboks ran in nine tries for a record Rugby Championship victory.

But eight minutes from time South Africa gained the lead for the first time as prop Marcos Ayerza collapsed a maul and Steyn maintained his 100 percent kicking record from the penalty.

Another Steyn penalty one minute into additional time sealed success for the Springboks, who trooped off knowing they will play better in future and lose.



Tries: Juan Manuel Leguizamon, Marcelo Bosch

Conversions: Felipe Contepomi (2)

Penalty: Contepomi.

South Africa:

Try: Bjorn Basson

Conversion: Morné Steyn

Penalties: Steyn (5)



15. Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino, 14. Gonzalo Camacho, 13. Marcelo Bosch, 12. Felipe Contepomi (captain), 11. Horacio Agulla, 10. Nicolas Sanchez, 9. Martin Landajo, 8. Leonardo Senatore, 7. Juan Manuel Leguizamon, 6. Pablo Matera, 5. Mariano Galarza, 4. Julio Faras Cabello, 3. Juan Figallo, 2. Eusebio Guinazu, 1. Marcos Ayerza

Substitutes: 16. Agustin Creevy, 17. Nahuel Lobo, Matas Diaz, 18. Tomas Lavaninni, 19. Benjamin Macome, 20. Tomas Cubelli, 21. Santiago Fernandez, 22. Juan Imhoff

South Africa:

15. Willie le Roux, 14. Bjorn Basson, 13. JJ Engelbrecht, 12. Jean de Villiers (captain), 11. Bryan Habana, 10. Morné Steyn, 9. Ruan Pienaar, 8. Duane Vermeulen, 7. Willem Alberts, 6. Francois Louw, 5. Juandré Kruger, 4. Eben Etzebeth, 3. Jannie du Plessis, 2. Adriaan Strauss, 1. Tendai Mtawarira

Substitutes: 16. Bismarck du Plessis, 17. Gürthro Steenkamp, 18. Coenie Oosthuizen, 19. Flip van der Merwe, 20. Siya Kolisi, 21. Jano Vermaak, 22. Patrick Lambie, 23. Jan Serfontein


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