Impressive Pumas shock Springboks

Date published: August 8 2015

A hat-trick from Juan Imhoff helped Argentina record their first ever win over South Africa in a 37-25 Rugby Championship victory in Durban on Saturday.

It's taken 20 attempts but the Pumas finally got a positive result against the Springboks after two close calls last year. Using their domination at scrum time as a platform, Argentina created the biggest upset in the history of the Rugby Championship on the day that they commemorated 50 years since their first tour of South Africa.  

The result means the Boks have now lost four consecutive Tests to different countries for the first time since 1965.  

While the Pumas produced their best game of the year, tackling their hearts out, their disjointed hosts were a pale shadow of the side that troubled the All Blacks last week as they made countless unforced errors and offer very little on attack. 

Argentina led 27-13 at the interval thanks to three excellent tries, including two for Imhoff, who also helped set up the opener for Marcelo Bosch.

South Africa hit back via a try from lock Lood de Jager, but the visitors were well worth their lead against an error-prone Bok outfit.

Imhoff bagged his hat-trick in controversial circumstances soon after the break and although South Africa hit back via tries from Willie le Roux and Bryan Habana, they fell well short of saving the result.

It took los Pumas just two minutes to score the opening try and silence the Durban crowd. Imhoff sliced through the Bok defence from a set-piece move before offloading to Bosch, who cruised home. Juan Martin Hernandez added the easy extras to cap a perfect start for the visitors.

The scrum tussle between Bok tighthead Vincent Koch and veteran Pumas loosehead Marcos Ayerza had been highlighted as key battle and it was the South African rookie who won the first round earning a penalty for Handre Pollard to send over.

Ayerza made a strong comeback however, winning the next two penalties, but Hernandez was off target with both to leave the scores at 7-3 at the end of the first quarter. 

The Pumas went over for another excellent try to stretch their lead after Le Roux handed possession away cheaply with a terrible kick, which led to Tomas Cubelli putting Imhoff away a few phases later. Hernandez added the conversion and at 14-3, the Boks looked rattled.

Strong runs from Pollard and Bismarck du Plessis forced an offside penalty, which the fly-half slotted but the Pumas would soon ber over for their third try.

A massive scrum laid the platform for Leonardo Senatore to break off with Cubelli providing the link for Imhoff to cross on the overlap for his second try. Hernandez's conversion stretched the lead to 15 points. 

South Africa hit back with a classic drive off the back of a lineout which saw De Jager stretch out an arm for the hosts' first try.

Pollard landed the conversion but Hernandez was able to reply immediately when Beast Mtawarira was pinged for obstruction. 

Koch was really suffering at scrum time and another penalty against him allowed Bosch to smash over three more points from 50m out to give Argentina a 14-point lead at half-time. Marcel van der Merwe replaced Koch in the second half, but the flow of penalties was only partially slowed. 

The Pumas' fourth try came in controversial circumstances. With a gaggle of medics on the field and Jean de Villiers in the middle of a team talk, referee Romain Poite called time back on, Hernandez took a quick tap and Imhoff pounced in the corner, much to the hosts' bemusement. 

Another conversion from Hernandez left South Africa with a 21-point mountain to climb.

Le Roux started the move that would lead to his try by plucking a bomb out of the air before De Villiers and Jesse Kriel combined to put their full-back away for a long sprint home. 

Pollard added the conversion but a neat drop goal from Bosch kept the Boks beyond two converted tries. 

Cobus Reinach was denied a try by the TMO but Habana was able to grab a consolation try as the Boks used the extra space created by Pablo Matera's yellow card for a high tackle on Schalk Burger.

Man of the match: There can be only one candidate. A hat-trick for Juan Imhoff seals the gong. 

Moment of the match: The Boks would have believed they were in with a chance of making a comeback but Imhoff's controversial try took the wind of their sails.

Villain of the match: No punches thrown. 

The scorers:

For South Africa:
Tries: De Jager, Le Roux, Habana
Cons: Pollard 2
Pens: Pollard 2

For Argentina:
Tries: Bosch, Imhoff 3
Cons: Hernandez 4
Pens: Hernandez, Bosch
Drop: Bosch
Yellow card: Matera

South Africa: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Jesse Kriel, 13 Jean de Villiers (c), 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Handré Pollard, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Schalk Burger, 7 Marcell Coetzee, 6 Heinrich Brüssow, 5 Lood de Jager, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 VIncent Koch, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.

Replacements:16 Adriaan Strauss, 17 Trevor Nyakane, 18 Marcel van der Merwe, 19 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 20 Siya Kolisi, 21 Cobus Reinach, 22 Pat Lambie, 23 Lwazi Mvovo.

Argentina: 15 Joaquin Tuculet, 14 Horacio Agulla, 13 Marcelo Bosch, 12 Jeronimo de la Fuente, 11 Juan Imhoff, 10 Juan Martin Hernandez, 9 Tomas Cubelli, 8 Leonardo Senatore, 7 Juan Manuel Leguizamon, 6 Pablo Matera, 5 Tomas Lavanini, 4 Guido Petti, 3 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, 2 Agustin Creevy (c), 1 Marcos Ayerza.

Replacements: 16 Julian Montoya, 17 Lucas Noguera, 18 Matias Diaz, 19 Matias Alemanno, 20 Tomas Lezana, 21 Martin Landajo, 22 Santiago Gonzalez Iglesias, 23 Lucas Amorosino.

Venue: Kings Park, Durban

Referee: Romain Poite

Assistant referees: JP Doyle, Marcus Mitrea

TMO: Ben Skeen