Argentina was outclassed in Port Elizabeth today, falling 37-15 to South Africa. The heavy defeat included tries to Courtnall Skosan, Raymond Rhule, Siya Kolisi and Pieter-Steph Du Toit. Los Pumas managed two from Martin Landajo and Emiliano Boffelli.
South Africa thoroughly deserved the win. The impressive performance had Argentina defending for the vast majority of the opening half and unable to have a sufficient offensive impact.
The fixture was the second of the day in the Rugby Championship. It followed this morning’s match in Sydney, Australia. In that game New Zealand had an amazing opening half, scoring six tries. A drop in the second half enabled Australia to have the better of play but the All Blacks ultimately won 54-34.
The bonus point win in Sydney places New Zealand in top spot of the Rugby Championship. South Africa’s win over Argentina means the Springboks are second ahead of Australia and Argentina in third and fourth.
South Africa’s home win underlined a team that has made waves in 2017. Losses to Italy and Wales last November had fans calling it the end of South African rugby as a Tier One nation. But with three wins over France and today’s win vs Los Pumas the team is well-and-truly back on track.
South Africa opened the scoring through Elton Jantjies. The Lions fly half landed two penalties to give his team a 6-0 lead at the 20 minute mark.
Argentina had the opportunity to hit-back through Nicolás Sánchez. The Tucumán fly half, though, was unable to land his strike.
30 minutes in and the opening try of the match was scored. Doing so was Martín Landajo. Against the run of play Joaquín Tuculet gathered a Jantjies kick and launched a counter attack. Having made a half break he offloaded to Emiliano Boffelli who underlined his intelligence by kicking through for Landajo to chase, gather and dive over. Sánchez’ conversion attempt was wide.
Despite conceding the try South Africa maintained the lead. They then made smart work of scoring their own opening try. It came from a scrum, an area of play in which Argentina was badly exposed today. From the set-piece play, the Springboks backs got the ball with Courtnall Skosan scoring a brilliant try by breaking tackles and speeding over.
Trailing 15-5 at half time, Los Pumas would score first after the break. A Sánchez penalty narrowed the deficit but it was immediately responded to by Jantjies who also struck a penalty.
South Africa then scored try number two. It came from dominant play at the breakdown. Flanker Siya Kolisi completed a turnover to win a penalty for the home side. The Springboks kicked for the corner rather than the posts. From the resulting play a rolling-maul went close before being stopped short. Recycled ball then found its way to Raymond Rhule who blitzed the defense to score.
Jantjies added the extras, giving South Africa a 23-8 lead in the 55th minute. Argentina appeared to be dead-and-hurried though there was hope when Boffelli scored in the corner. His try made was converted from the sideline from replacement Juan Martín Hernández.
Boffelli’s score made it an eight point ball game with 15 minutes remaining. It would, however, be the final points by the visitors. South Africa, in contrast, went over for two late scores. Tries by Kolisi and replacement Pieter-Steph du Toit were both converted, giving the Springboks a 22 point win.
The teams meet again in seven days time. The return fixture in Salta will be a vastly different atmosphere and Argentina will need to use the home advantage to avoid a repeat of being outclassed in Port Elizabeth.
Tries: Skosan, Rhule, Kolisi, Du Toit
Conversion: Jantjies (4)
Penalty: Jantjies (3)
Try: Boffelli, Landajo
15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Raymond Rhule, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Jan Serfontein, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Ross Cronje, 8 Uzair Cassiem, 7 Jaco Kriel, 6 Siya Kolisi, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Eben Etzebeth (Capt.), 3 Coenie Oosthuizen, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Tendai Mtawarira
Replacements: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Trevor Nyakane, 19 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 20 Jean-Luc du Preez, 21 Francois Hougaard, 22 Curwin Bosch, 23 Damian de Allende
15 Joaquín Tuculet, 14 Ramiro Moyano, 13 Matías Orlando, 12 Jerónimo de la Fuente, 11 Emiliano Boffelli, 10 Nicolás Sánchez, 9 Martiín Landajo, 8 Leonardo Senatore, 7 Tomás Lezana, 6 Pablo Matera, 5 Tomás Lavanini, 4 Guido Petti, 3 Enrique Pieretto, 2 Agustin Creevy (Capt.), 1 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro
Replacements: 16 Julián Montoya, 17 Lucas Noguera Paz, 18 Ramiro Herrera, 19 Marcos Kremer, 20 Javier Ortega Desio, 21 Tomás Cubelli, 22 Juan Martín Hernández, 23 Matías Moroni