Springboks tame Pumas

2012-08-18 18:42

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.

It was the Boks’ 14th consecutive triumph over the South American tourists, but the Pumas put up strong resistance against their more revered opponents.

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 Hougaard.

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.

Hougaard took a quick tap from a scrum penalty, passing the ball to Steyn, who drew some defenders and offloaded to Kirchner to score.

With the 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.

The 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.

The 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.


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Fixtures

27 September 2014
  • South Africa v Australia, Cape Town 17:05
28 September 2014
  • Argentina v New Zealand, La Plata 00:10
04 October 2014
  • South Africa v New Zealand, Johannesburg 17:05

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Results

13 September 2014
06 September 2014
23 August 2014
16 August 2014
28 June 2014
21 June 2014
14 June 2014
07 June 2014
23 November 2013
17 November 2013
09 November 2013
05 October 2013
28 September 2013
14 September 2013
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08 June 2013

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After their narrow defeat to the All Blacks in Wellington, the Springboks will be relishing their "return" clash at Ellis Park. Or will they... ? Who do you see winning in Johannesburg?

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