Boks triumph over Argentina to keep Rugby Championship prospects alive
The win in Buenos Aires was built around a forward pack that played with control and cohesion in the first half, while Damian Willemse, Damian de Allende and at times Canan Moodie mixed force with guile to stretch the Los Pumas defence.
Though the home team came out firing in the second half and the Springboks conceded too many penalties Argentina could not overturn the deficit.
Argentina came back fighting in the second half as they clawed back a 22-6 halftime deficit to put the game firmly in the balance with 12 minutes to go.
The Boks didn’t just hold on, they finished stronger with tries by De Allende and start performer Malcolm Marx, they also had the upper hand early in the game.
The first time the Boks got some proper go-forward was around the 10-minute mark when their forwards started running onto the ball with gusto.
The fine build-up play in which they hit towards the left hand touchline and then right towards the poles.
It’s there they earned a penalty that Damian Willemse converted to level the score.
The Pumas suffered a double whammy when they conceded a penalty try and saw flyhalf Santiago Carreras banished to the bin.
Carreras’ crime was the tackle from an offside position he made on Jaden Hendrikse with a try beckoning.
They played with increasing purpose and tempo and the Argentina defence suddenly had too many holes to plug.
The Springboks displayed a disregard for the offside line around the rucks and were punished for it in the first half.
Carreras’ halfback partner Gonzalo Bertranou was sin-binned for drifting offside in the 40th minute but Argentina started the second half with more resolve and as they started surging forward the match opened up.
In one passage of play four minutes after the restart, possession changed several times and it included two intercepts.
The match getting more ragged did not necessarily suit the Boks.
Argentina’s impressive passing game was starting to pay dividends and while it earned them favourable field position they failed to advance the scoreboard until the 65th minute when they earned a penalty try.
Kwagga Smith was shown a yellow card for his actions in preventing a try and the match was suddenly in the balance.
While the Bok discipline frayed they did enough to correct matters in the closing minutes.
There will also be some concern for the wellbeing of Willemse who copped a blow to the head when he displayed poor tackle technique in the 64th minute.
Argentina (20) — A penalty try, Matias Moronni, Conversion: Santiago Carreras, Penalties: Emiliano Boffelli (2)
Springboks (36) — A penalty try, Jaden Hendrikse, Malcolm Marx (2), Damian de Allende, Conversions: Damian Willemse, Frans Steyn (2), Penalty: Willemse.