Johannesburg - Argentina’s Pampas XV made a winning return to South Africa when they scored seven tries in overpowering the Griffons 52-29 (half-time 31-8) in a first-round Vodacom Cup match played at their adopted home of the Fanie du Toit sports grounds in Potchefstroom on Saturday.
The Pampas team began their second Vodacom Cup campaign with an authoritative display in front of an appreciative crowd of 8 000 that will have the other teams in the North section of the competition sitting up and taking notice.
The Argentine scrum, with Pumas hooker Agustin Creevy at the forefront, was typically solid while out wide wingers Agustin Gosio and Juan Imhoff were the men to benefit from the glut of possession that came their way.
The Pampas XV, thanks to tries from Imhoff, centre Gabriel Ascarate, scrumhalf Martin Landajo and eighthman Miguel de Achaval, held a comfortable 23-point lead at the break and scored a further three in the second period against gallant but outgunned opposition.
Not that the Griffons were entirely out of it, mind you. A third-minute penalty by flyhalf Tiaan van Wyk and a try by veteran wing Shane Hancke in the 14th minute saw the Pampas XV hold a slender 10-8 lead until Ascarate dived over on the half hour to increase the gap.
The Argentinians then scored two crucial tries just before the break to effectively end the match as a contest, although the never-say-die attitude of the Griffons saw them score a further three tries in the final half hour to at least give the men from Welkom a bonus point.
Pampas XV 52 – Tries: Agustin Gosio, Gabriel Ascarate, Joaquin Tuculet, Juan Imhoff, Martin Landajo, Miguel de Achaval, Matias Cortese. Conversions: Nicolas Sanchez (5), Santiago Gonzalez Iglesias (2).
Griffons 29 – Tries: Nicky Steyn, Oshwill Nortjie, Shane Hancke, Tertius Maarman. Conversions: Tiaan van Wyk (3). Penalty: Van Wyk.