Zane Kirchner (Gallo)
Cape Town - South Africa fought their way to a
27-6 victory over a spirited Argentina side in their opening match of
the four-nation Rugby Championship at Newlands on Saturday.
was the Boks’ 14th consecutive triumph over the South American tourists,
but the Pumas put up strong resistance against their more revered
The hosts scored 20 points in the first half but could
not land a proper knock-out blow as they let a bonus point, with
home-ground advantage, fade away.
The South Africans nevertheless
played a safe tactical game as they chipped away at Argentina's
defences with good tactical kicking spearheaded by scrumhalf Francois
While the scoreline may suggest the Boks had a free pass to the tryline, it was anything but a walkover.
The Argentines threw down the gauntlet but they squandered chances as the Boks opened up an early gap.
The home side drew first blood with a penalty conversion by flyhalf Morne Steyn four minutes into the match.
His counterpart, Juan Martin Hernandez, returned the favour 10 minutes later to uphold the status quo.
The Springboks finally pierced the Pumas’ defence with fullback Zane Kirchner crossing the whitewash after 17 minutes.
took a quick tap from a scrum penalty, passing the ball to Steyn, who
drew some defenders and offloaded to Kirchner to score.
Boks comfortably holding onto a 10-point lead, captain Jean de Villiers
opted for a line-kick rather than a penalty conversion.
This signalled South Afica’s intention to land a psychological blow as the half-time break approached.
bold decision proved to be fruitful as flanker Marcel Coetzee scored
his maiden try in a Bok jersey from the back of a driving maul from the
lineout, with Steyn converting.
The Pumas added three more points before the recess with Hernandez succeeding from a penalty conversion.
The tourists, however, let three good chances slip away with three unsuccessful penalty conversion attempts.
Boks struck their final blow in the 56th minute when Bryan Habana did
well to chase and field a Steyn cross-kick to score in the right-hand
corner, with the flyhalf converting.
Steyn’s performance was
almost a vindication for his form in the June Test series against
England. He succeeded with all of his kicks at goal, while his tactical
kicking was also on target.