Springboks rock Argentina in opener

Captain Felipe Contepomi puts up brave fight but Pumas suffer massive loss to South Africa in Rugby Championship.

sOUTH africa fans
The FNB stadium also hosted national football team who defeated Burkina Faso 2-0 in a friendly [GALLO/GETTY]

South Africa scored nine tries to emphatically open their Rugby Championship with a 73-13 win over Argentina on Saturday, avenging a surprise 16-16 draw between the teams in their last meeting a year ago with the biggest win in the southern hemisphere competition.

A double header of soccer and rugby action was held on Saturday in tribute to Nelson Mandela.

The national football team beat Burkina Faso 2-0 in a friendly before the Springboks took control at the FNB Stadium in Soweto. South Africa crossed the line seven times in the second half to keep Argentina winless in seven games in this competition.

South Africa also moved powerfully to a seventh straight test win under coach Heyneke Meyer, with flyhalf Morne Steyn kicking 28 points and landing 12 out of 13 attempts.

South Africa surpassed their points tally in a 61-22 win over Australia in Pretoria in 1997 and also the competition’s previous best 45-point margin they beat Australia by at Johannesburg in 2008.

The Boks had eight different try-scorers on Saturday after the penalty try and kept a meek Argentina scoreless from the 23rd minute until their only try through Felipe Contepomi in the last minute.

Double blow

Captain Contepomi had all Argentina’s points with a try, conversion and two penalties, but the South Americans were left completely dispirited after coming close to a maiden win in the championship in their debut season in 2012 and then going down by 60 points in their 2013 opener.

At 9-6, the Springboks forged ahead with their penalty try after half an hour, a telling double blow for the Argentinians as they also lost hooker Eusebio Guinazu for knocking down a pass that would have put Ruan Pienaar clear in the left corner.

Center JJ Engelbrecht collected a kick through three minutes later and ran 50 meters for the second try, a breakout from near the Springboks’ line set up by flyhalf Steyn, who recovered possession and passed to fullback Willie le Roux to chip ahead.

Steyn kicked a fourth penalty to go with his two conversions for a 26-6 halftime lead for No. 2-ranked South Africa. 

The Boks blew the Pumas away in the second 40.

Hooker Adriaan Strauss’ try from a rumbling maul in the 47th made it 33-6 with another Steyn conversion and effectively ended what was left of any contest.

Flanker Willem Alberts secured the four-try bonus point as early as the 54th as the Boks repeated the lineout and mauling move that put Strauss over. A minute later, skipper Jean de Villiers burst clear for the fifth as Argentina began to fade away badly.

Returning World Cup-winning scrumhalf Fourie du Preez bolted over for the sixth try minutes after returning to international rugby as a replacement following a two-year absence.

Wing Bryan Habana, No. 8 Duane Vermeulen and replacement hooker Bismarck du Plessis also crashed over before Contepomi ended a Pumas breakout with his try in the last act of the game.


South Africa 73 (JJ Engelbrecht, Adriaan Strauss, Willem Alberts, Jean de Villiers, Fourie du Preez, Bryan Habana, Duane Vermeulen, Bismarck du Plessis, penalty tries; Morne Steyn 8 conversions, 4 penalties), Argentina 13 (Felipe Contepomi try, conversion, 2 penalties). HT: 26-6.

Source: AP