Rugby Championship

Dyantyi, Mapimpi steal the show as Boks down Pumas

2018-08-18 18:51
Aphiwe Dyantyi (left) and Lukhanyo Am (Gallo).

Durban - They took a while to get going, but in the end the Springboks found their rhythm and put in a polished second-half performance to down Argentina 34-21 in Durban on Saturday.

READ: Rob Houwing's Bok ratings piece

It was the perfect start to their Rugby Championship campaign as the Boks scored six tries to threefrom their visitors to walk away with a winning bonus point.

The Boks were far from their best in the first half - Malcolm Marx missed three jumpers at lineout time and Handre Pollard missed all three of his kicks at goal - but what followed in the final 40 minutes will encourage Springbok supporters and convince them that this team is on the right track as preparations for the 2019 World Cup continue.

Man-of-the-match Aphiwe Dyantyi was superb on the night, scoring two tries and gifting another to his wing partner, Makazole Mapimpi, who also finished with two.

The performances of the two Bok wide men, as well as the successful returns of Eben Etzebeth, Warren Whiteley, Francois Louw and Marx, would have been most welcomed by Erasmus.

Tendai Mtawarira was also hugely impressive during his 51-minute shift.

Set piece worries aside, the Boks also allowed themselves to get sucked into off-the-ball incidents as things threatened to spill over a couple of times in the opening period. 

There were positives: Etzebeth impressed with a couple of familiar, bulldozing runs and Dyantyi looked dangerous every time he got the ball, but in the end Erasmus would not have been pleased with what he saw in the first half. 

The intensity was never lacking.

In front of a modest-sized Kings Park crowd, the Boks came out blazing and started on the front foot, as was expected. 

They struck first on eight minutes after Argentinean scrumhalf Gonzalo Bertranou had kicked out on the full and gifted the Boks a lineout just 22m out.

After a good run from Pollard, the Boks reset and Faf de Klerk played a quick, flat pass to a charging Lukhanyo Am, who went crashing over from close range for his first Test try. 

On the quarter-hour mark, the first scuffle of the game took place on the halfway line with Francois Louw and a smiling Etzebeth central. 

The Boks were penalised after the incident, and Argentinean flyhalf Nicolas Sanchez set up an attacking lineout that would pay dividends. 

With another penalty advantage in play, Sanchez launched a bomb that Willie le Roux could not deal with.

The ball came out for the Pumas, who punished a stretched Bok defence as Sanchez scored under posts to give his side a 7-5 lead. 

Then, against the run of play, Pablo Matera scored when Argentina pounced on a loose ball at a ruck.

The finish seemed a bit too easy from a South African perspective, with Matera charging through almost unchallenged down the left flank.

Trailing 14-5, the Boks went about their recovery and set up a solid platform thanks to some big running from Etzebeth and Du Toit before Mapimpi set off on another exciting charge down the right.

The ball then came back left to Le Roux, who knocked a cross-kick with pin-point accuracy to find Dyantyi. 

The Lions superstar made no mistake in finishing the move, but Pollard again could not convert, and the Boks were 14-10 down.

With half-time approaching, Pollard missed his third straight kick as the Boks went into the break behind. 

The hosts looked a different side in the second half. 

It was De Klerk, this time, who spotted a gap in the defence and kicked over the top for Dyantyi, who was faster than anyone and reached the ball first, lunging over to score his second of the night. 

This time Pollard converted, and the Boks went 17-14 ahead. 

Mapimpi would have his moment just a couple of minutes later. With the Argentinean defence sucked in, there was nobody marking the right wing, who took the simplest of passes to score the simplest of tries. 

It got even easier for Mapimpi a few moments later when Dyantyi, almost on the tryline and with a hat-trick within his reach, selflessly offloaded to his wing partner, who dotted down for his second. 

When Pollard missed his fifth kick of six on the night, the Boks had surged to a 27-14 lead and with just under half-an-hour remaining, it began to look ominous for the visitors.

They were given a lifeline when debutant Damian Willemse threw a horror pass to fellow-debutant Marco van Staden. The ball was loose, and Matias Moroni to score under the posts and make it a six-point game.

The Boks got their bonus point margin back with 10 minutes to play when De Klerk darted over under the posts following a barging run from Steven Kitshoff.

Scorers:

South Africa 34 (10)

Tries: Lukhanyo Am, Aphiwe Dyantyi (2 I(2)), Makazole Mapimpi (2), Faf de Klerk

Conversions: Handre Pollard

Argentina 21 (14)

Tries: Nicolas Sanchez, Pablo Matera, Matias Moroni

Conversion: Sanchez (3)

Teams:

South Africa

15 Willie le Roux, 14 Makazole Mapimpi, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Aphiwe Dyantyi, 10 Handre Pollard, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Warren Whiteley, 7 Siya Kolisi (captain), 6 Francois Louw, 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Tendai Mtawarira

Substitutes: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Thomas du Toit, 19 Marvin Orie, 20 Marco van Staden, 21 Embrose Papier, 22 Lionel Mapoe, 23 Damian Willemse

Argentina

15 Emiliano Boffelli, 14 Bautista Delguy, 13 Matias Moroni, 12 Bautista Ezcurra, 11 Ramiro Moyano, 10 Nicolas Sanchez, 9 Gonzalo Bertranou, 8 Javier Ortega Desio, 7 Marcos Kremer, 6 Pablo Matera, 5 Matias Alemanno, 4 Guido Petti, 3 Juan Figallo, 2 Agustin Creevy (captain), 1 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro

Substitutes: 16 Diego Fortuny, 17 Santiago Garcia Botta, 18 Santiago Medrano, 19 Tomas Lavanini, 20 Tomas Lezana, 21 Martin Landajo, 22 Santiago Gonzalez Iglesias, 23 Juan Cruz Mallia

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