Springboks bounce back in style

Date published: August 15 2015

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South Africa finally got their first Test win of the year thanks to a 26-12 victory over Argentina at Vélez Sarsfield in Buenos Aires on Saturday. 

After last week's horror show in Durban, the Boks put on a much-improved performance, leading from start to finish and outscoring their hosts two tries to none.

A near-faultless display from fly-half Pat Lambie gave the visitors confidence and momentum while solid scrums saw the tables turned on the Pumas, who would have rated their chances of back-to-back wins. 

It wasn't to be though as the visitors controlled proceedings with a display that will bring a much-needed morale boost ahead of the World Cup.

South Africa led 20-9 at the interval thanks to two well-taken tries by wings Bryan Habana and Lwazi Mvovo while Argentina replied via three penalties from Nicolas Sanchez.

Lambie kept the scoreboard ticking in the second half with neat drop goal and another penalty to one from Sanchez. 

The result is South Africa's best away to Argentina in the Heyneke Meyer era, and will go a long way in relieving some pressure on the staff.

The hosts were dealt two hefty blows just hours before kicking with the withdrawal of prop Marcos Ayerza and playmaker Juan Martín Hernández, two of their best players from last week's victory in Durban, and the impact was felt.

In the build-up, Springbok coach Meyer had said his team would aim to play "more tactically" and they certainly brought more physicality and intensity right from the kick-off with improved line speed, putting pressure on the hosts.

Yet it was Argentina who had the first opportunity to score, but fantastic cover defence by Eben Etzebeth stopped Juan Imhoff inches short of the line in the second minute.

Lambie and Sanchez exchanged penalties to leave the Boks up 6-3 at the end of the first quarter.

Ruan Pienaar had the ball knocked from his hands en-route to the tryline but the visitors would nevertheless grab the first try a few minutes later.

After kicking to the corner from three consecutive penalties, the Boks were finally rewarded on the opposite touchline as Habana crossed from Pienaar's long pass wide.  

Lambie's conversion capped an excellent start for his team, and there was more to come.

Mvovo's try was a gem, as he collected Schalk Burger's quick pass to beat a handful of defenders on his way to the line. Again Lambie hit the target with the extras and at 20-3, the Boks were cruising.

Argentina chipped away at the lead with a couple of penalties but Lambie's drop goal shortly after the restart kept momentum with the visitors.

The second half proved a scrappy affair, but the hosts were never given a chance to make a comeback with the Boks keeping them pinned in their own half. 

Man of the match: A mention for Heinrich Brüssow, who worked very hard but the star of the show was Pat Lambie, who made all the right decisions and hardly put a foot wrong. He must now be considered South Africa's first-choice pivot. 

Moment of the match: Bok fans would have had their hearts in their throats when Juan Imhoff pinned his ears back and headed for the corner in the second minute. But Eben Etzebeth's tackle on Imhoff set the tone for the rest of the game as the Boks continued to work hard. 

Villain of the match: Nothing worth mentioning. 

The scorers:

For Argentina:
Pens: Sanchez 4
Yellow Card: Lavanini

For South Africa:
Tries: Habana, Mvovo
Cons: Lambie 2
Pens: Lambie 3
Drop Goal: Lambie

Argentina: 15 Joaquín Tuculet, 14 Santiago Cordero, 13 Matías Moroni, 12 Juan Pablo Socino, 11 Juan Imhoff, 10 Nicolás Sánchez, 9 Martín Landajo, 8 Juan Manuel Legiuzamón, 7 Juan Martín Fernández Lobbe, 6 Tomás Lezana, 5 Tomás Lavanini, 4 Benjamin Macome, 3 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, 2 Agustín Creevy (c), 1 Lucas Noguera
Replacements: 16 Julián Montoya, 17 Santiago García Botta, 18 Juan Pablo Orlandi, 19 Matias Alemanno, 20 Pablo Matera, 21 Tomás Cubelli, 22 Santiago González Iglesias, 23 Lucas González Amorosino

South Africa: 15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Lwazi Mvovo, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Pat Lambie, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Schalk Burger, 7 Willem Alberts, 6 Heinrich Brüssow, 5 Victor Matfield (c), 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Marcel van der Merwe, 2 Adriaan Strauss, 1 Trevor Nyakane 
Replacements: 16 Schalk Brits, 17 Tendai Mtawarira, 18 Frans Malherbe, 19 Flip van der Merwe, 20 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 21 Cobus Reinach, 22 Handré Pollard, 23 Jan Serfontein

Venue: Vélez Sarsfield, Buenos Aires
Referee: Glen Jackson (New Zealand)
Assistant Referees: Romain Poite (France), Mike Fraser (New Zealand)
TMO: George Ayoub (Australia)

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