Cape Town - Handre Pollard scored 31 points as the Springboks thrashed Argentina
46-13 in Salta on Saturday to win the Rugby Championship for the first
As it happened: Argentina v South Africa
The Springboks last won a competition in 2009 when they finished
first in the Tri Nations, the forerunner of the Rugby Championship.
Flyhalf Pollard notched two tries and kicked three conversions and
five penalties in a bonus-point victory for South Africa, who led 24-13
South Africa finished with 12 points in a competition reduced to one
round from the traditional two because of the World Cup in Japan from
Australia, who stunned world champions New Zealand 47-26 earlier
on Saturday, came second with eight points followed by the All Blacks with
six and the Pumas with two.
Argentina collapsed in the second half after holding their own during
the opening 40 minutes until a Pollard try gave South Africa an
11-point lead at the break.
The nations meet again next Saturday, this time in Pretoria, in a warm-up international for the World Cup.
It took the Pumas just 100 seconds to take the lead through a
Santiago Cordero try on a clear, late southern hemisphere winter
afternoon before a sell-out 22 190 crowd in the northwestern city.
Cordero gathered a perfectly weighted cross kick from Nicolas Sanchez and held off Makazole Mapimpi to dive over in the corner.
Sanchez converted and Argentina could not have wished for a better
start as they sought to defeat the Springboks in South America for the
third time in four seasons.
Pollard reduced the deficit via a ninth-minute penalty and the
visitors went in front soon afterwards when Bongi Mbonambi scored off a
rolling maul after a lineout.
It was a particularly pleasing score for the Springboks, who have struggled this season to turn mauls into tries.
The opening half then became a goal-kicking battle between playmakers
Pollard and Sanchez with the South African kicking three penalties and
converting his try in the final minute of the half.
Sanchez had fewer opportunities and made the most of them, slotting
the two penalties to keep the Pumas in touch for most of the half.
But the Pollard try and conversion gave South Africa a 24-13
half-time advantage after a half in which the major difference between
the teams was the scrums.
Argentina have struggled for some years in an aspect of the game
where they used to be world class and there was no sign of any
improvement in Salta.
The Pumas conceded a number of scrum penalties despite the return
after a shoulder injury of star hooker Agustin Creevy and they
backpedalled several times at the Estadio Padre Ernesto Martearena.
Pollard kicked an early second half penalty and then scored his
second try even though the Springboks were temporarily down to 14 men
with Faf de Klerk sin-binned.
As the match entered the final quarter, South Africa held a 32-13
lead against opponents who could not translate spells of pressure into
Clinical South Africa scored further tries through Mapimpi and
Cheslin Kolbe and Pollard converted both for an unexpectedly comfortable
Try: Santiago Cordero
Conversion: Nicolas Sanchez
Penalties: Sanchez (2)
Tries: Bongi Mbonambi, Handre Pollard (2), Makazole Mapimpi, Cheslin Kolbe
Conversions: Pollard (3)
Penalties: Pollard (5)
15 Emiliano Boffelli, 14 Santiago Cordero, 13 Matias Moroni, 12 Jeronimo de la Fuente, 11 Ramiro Moyano, 10 Nicolas Sanchez, 9 Tomas Cubelli, 8 Facundo Isa, 7 Javier Ortega Desio, 6 Pablo Matera (captain), 5 Marcos Kremer, 4 Matias Alemanno; 3 Juan Figallo, 2 Agustin Creevy, 1 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro
Substitutes: 16 Julian Montoya, 17 Mayco Vivas, 18 Santiago Medrano, 19 Guido Petti, 20 Tomas Lezana, 21 Gonzalo Bertanou, 22 Benjamin Urdapilleta, 23 Joaquin Tuculet
15 Willie le Roux, 14 Cheslin Kolbe, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Handre Pollard, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Kwagga Smith, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Trevor Nyakane, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Tendai Mtawarira
Substitutes: 16 Malcolm Marx, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Frans Malherbe, 19 RG Snyman, 20 Francois Louw, 21 Herschel Jantjies, 22 Frans Steyn, 23 Jesse Kriel