Rugby Championship

5 talking points: Argentina v Springboks

2019-08-12 07:22
Handre Pollard on his way to the tryline...
Handre Pollard on his way to the tryline... (Getty Images)

Cape Town - Sport24's Herman Mostert highlights FIVE talking points following South Africa’s 46-13 Rugby Championship win over Argentina in Salta.

1. Boks finally win Rugby Championship

The Springboks claimed their first ever Rugby Championship title following a dominant performance against Los Pumas.

Of course, the Springboks won the old Tri-Nations three times but this was their first trophy since the tournament became known as the Rugby Championship with Argentina's addition in 2012.

The win was way overdue, as South Africa's last Tri-Nations triumph came a decade ago in 2009.

2. Argentina massacred at scrum time

It was an all-round clinical performance from the Boks, but their dominance at scrum time was a sight to behold.

The South Africans won a string of scrum penalties and tighthead Trevor Nyakane's dominance of a hapless Tetaz Chaparro was a standout in the Test.

Veteran loosehead Tendai Mtawarira wasn't far behind Nyakane, while substitute loosehead Steven Kitshoff piled pressure on the hosts when he came on.

Along with Frans Malherbe, the Boks are blessed with four world class props at present.

3. Pollard SA's MVP

Bok flyhalf Handre Pollard produced a man-of-the-match performance, scoring 31 points including two tries.

Pollard's directness and power proved too much for the Pumas to handle. His goal-kicking was also sublime and he has now distinguished himself as South Africa's best flyhalf by a long shot.

The Boks could be in trouble if he gets injured at the World Cup...

4. Kolbe's scrumhalf cameo

Bok winger Cheslin Kolbe's star continues to shine as he proves his doubters wrong at Test level.

Kolbe again put his body on the line and also added his name to the try-scorer's sheet, but it was his cameo at scrumhalf that caught the eye.

Kolbe comfortably stepped into the scrumhalf position when Faf de Klerk was sin-binned, demonstrating Nick Mallett's long-time conviction that Kolbe could shine as a No 9.

Mallett first brought up the idea a couple of years ago and Kolbe's versatility could prompt Bok coach Rassie Erasmus to only take two scrumhalves to the World Cup.

5. No need to be superstitious  

I noted in an earlier column that no team that has won the Tri-Nations or Rugby Championship has gone on to win the World Cup in the same year.

But the Springboks and their fans shouldn't be superstitious about that fact.

There were enough positives in this Rugby Championship to suggest the Boks are serious contenders for the World Cup title.

They have built up a squad with vast depth, they know they can beat the All Blacks, and have world class performers in key positions.

This will be the most confident a Springbok team has been before a World Cup since 2007…

 

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