Planet Rugby

Boks teach Pumas a lesson

18th August 2012 14:46

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Bryan Habana in the air for Springboks

Got the third: Bryan Habana

Argentina were welcomed into the Rugby Championship with a 27-6 hiding at the hands of the Springboks at Newlands on Saturday.

The Pumas arrived in Cape Town with high hopes of an historic upset but never looked like troubling the South Africans, who led from start to finish.

The men in green and gold scored three well-worked tries while Argentina could only reply with two penalties.

Defeat for the Boks would have spelt a drop to sixth place in the IRB rankings but it was clear from early on that was never going to happen. Heyneke Meyer's team showed great composure and patience, taking their opportunities when they were presented and pressurising the Argentineans into errors which translated into a 20-6 lead at the break.

A single try in the second half was enough to seal the win for South Africa but they will be disappointed not to have secured a bonus point given the one-sided nature of the clash.

The miserable weather that had belted Cape Town all week finally packed it's bags for pastures further north and glorious sunshine greeted the players and the Newlands faithful. But the perfect conditions didn't encourage either side to play adventurous rugby. Argentina were, however, given a lesson on how to effectively employ a forwards-orientated approach.

The Pumas' game-plan was clear to see from the outset as they looked to give the Springboks a taste of their own medicine with a plethora of bombs from the boot of Juan Martín Hernández. But the kicks weren't quite accurate enough and the chase was lacking fire, meaning the home side's back three were seldom seriously troubled.

It took just five minutes for Morne Steyn to get the Boks on the board with a penalty but the opening score coincided with a massive blow for the hosts, who saw Bismarck du Plessis leave the field with a knee injury.

Hernández levelled the scores on the 15-minute mark but when Lucas Amorosino spilt an easy pass just in front of his own try-line, the Pumas looked in trouble.

True enough, three phases after the scrum Zane Kirchner was over in the corner. Steyn added the extras to give the Boks a 10-3 lead at the end of the first quarter.

Steyn added another penalty before Marcell Coetzee broke off the back of a rolling maul to stretch out an arm and thereby extend the hosts' lead. The conversion took the scores to 20-3 after half-an-hour and the writing was on the wall for the visitors.

Hernández landed a penalty just before half time and missed two more after the break but it would be the Boks who scored next. Bryan Habana plucked Steyn's cross-field kick out of the sky (and Horacio Agulla's hands) for an all-too-easy try.

Credit must be given to the Pumas for holding on and not handing over a bonus-point try but their attack was woefully inadequate. Next week's rematch in Mendoza should provide them with an opportunity to give the Boks a run for their money.

Man of the Match: Schalk who? South Africa has a new star openside and his name is Marcell Coetzee. Another fantastic display from the Sharks youngster bodes well for the future. A try was just reward.

Moment of the Match: From the moment Zane Kirchner scored the Boks' first try the result never looked in doubt.

Villain of the Match: Whoever decided that drum majorettes qualify as pre-game entertainment. It's not 1981, man.

The scorers:

For South Africa:
Tries: Kirchner, Coetzee, Habana
Con: M Steyn 3
Pen: M Steyn 2

For Argentina:
Pen: Hernandez 2

South Africa: 15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Bryan Habana, 13 Jean de Villiers (c), 12 Frans Steyn, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Francois Hougaard, 8 Keegan Daniel, 7 Willem Alberts, 6 Marcell Coetzee, 5 Andries Bekker, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Replacements: 16 Adriaan Strauss, 17 Pat Cilliers, 18 Flip van der Merwe, 19 Jacques Potgieter, 20 Ruan Pienaar, 21 Pat Lambie, 22 JJ Engelbrecht.

Argentina: 15 Lucas González Amorosino, 14 Gonzalo Camacho, 13 Marcelo Bosch, 12 Santiago Fernández, 11 Horacio Agulla, 10 Juan Martín Hernández, 9 Nicolás Vergallo, 8 Juan Martín Fernández Lobbe (c), 7 Álvaro Galindo, 6 Julio Farías Cabello, 5 Patricio Albacete, 4 Manuel Carizza, 3 Juan Figallo, 2 Eusebio Guiñazú, 1 Rodrigo Roncero.
Replacements: 16 Bruno Postiglioni, 17 Marcos Ayerza, 18 Juan Pablo Orlandi, 19 Tomás Leonardi, 20 Leonardo Senatore, 21 Martín Landajo, 22 Martín Rodríguez.

Referee: Steve Walsh (Australia)
Assistant referees: Jérôme Garces (France), John Lacey (Ireland)
TMO: Johann Meuwesen (South Africa)

By Ross Hastie at Newlands

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