South Africa opened their 2013 Rugby Championship season with a mightily impressive nine-try 73-13 victory over Argentina in Soweto on Saturday.
Quite simply, the Boks were dominant and had this result sewn up after half-an-hour before the floodgates opened and the Pumas shut down.
South Africa, despite struggling to get into their stride early on, were too good as they looked to start the Rugby Championship term strongly.
Two penalties from Morne Steyn set them on their way before Argentina lost influential lock Patricio Albacete to an injury on thirteen minutes. That left them with just one notable jumper in the line-out and with the Springboks strong in the set-piece, the Pumas were always going to struggle.
It told as when Steyn and Felipe Contepomi had traded shots to make it 9-6, the lack of territory was too much for the Pumas. Eusebio Guinazu was the man caught out as he slapped down a pass to Ruan Pienaar which led to a penalty try being given. Steyn sent over the extra two points, with hooker Guinazu duly sent to the sin-bin.
At 16-6, the Boks were on their way and doubled their try account soon after when Willie le Roux's chip over the top from deep saw JJ Engelbrecht collect and stroll over for seven points that became only four minutes later. The net result was a 26-6 half-time scoreline.
Things would not improve for the Pumas seven minutes after the restart when Adriaan Strauss powered over off the back of a driving maul, stretching the lead to 27 points after the conversion. The Boks were now just one try away from joining the All Blacks on five points.
Leonardo Senatore was the second player to take a spell in the bin when his tip-tackle on Engelbrecht saw him shown yellow on 50 minutes. Unsurprisingly the hosts made the eight pay for his indiscretion too as Willem Alberts was next to cross on the back of a maul.
South Africa would strike while the iron was hot too when Jean de Villiers intercepted a pass before running in to touch down as the margin grew to 45-6. And the trend would continue with Argentina on the receiving end of yet more tries through Fourie du Preez, Bryan Habana and Duane Vermuelen who added the gloss before Bismarck du Plessis' score.
Contepomi did cross for Argentina but it will not paper over the cracks left by this loss.
For South Africa:
Try: Penalty, Engelbrecht, Strauss, Alberts, De Villiers, Du Preez, Habana, Vermeulen, B du Plessis
Con: Steyn 8
Pen: Steyn 4
Pen: Contepomi 2
Yellow: Guinazo (29 minutes), Senatore (50 minutes)
South Africa: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Bjorn Basson, 13 JJ Engelbrecht, 12 Jean de Villiers (c), 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Willem Alberts, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Juandré Kruger, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Adriaan Strauss, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Replacements: 16 Bismarck du Plessis, 17 Gurthrö Steenkamp, 18 Coenie Oosthuizen, 19 Flip Van Der Merwe, 20 Siya Kolisi, 21 Fourie du Preez, 22 Pat Lambie, 23 Jan Serfontein.
Argentina: 15 Juan Martin Hernandez, 14 Gonzalo Camacho, 13 Marcelo Bosch, 12 Felipe Contepomi (c), 11 Juan Imhoff, 10 Nicolas Sanchez, 9 Martin Landajo, 8 Leonardo Senatore, 7 Juan Manuel Leguizamon, 6 Pablo Matera, 5 Patricio Albacete, 4 Manuel Carizza, 3 Matias Diaz, 2 Eusebio Guinazu, 1 Juan Figallo.
Replacements: 16 Agustin Creevy, 17 Nahuel Lobo, 18 Juan Pablo Orlandi, 19 Mariano Galarza, 20 Julio Farias Cabello, 21 Tomas Cubelli, 22 Santiago Fernandez, 23 Horacio Agulla.