Pumas and Boks battle to a draw
August 25, 2012
It was an immensely physical clash in Mendoza
© PA Photos
Story of the Game
Argentina and South Africa battled to a 16-16 draw in their Rugby Championship clash in Mendoza on Saturday.
The Pumas very nearly caused a huge upset with Santiago Fernandez's first-half try giving them the advantage but Frans Steyn charged down Marcelo Bosch's clearance kick and dotted the ball down after 64 minutes. The result means that Argentina have not beaten South Africa in any of their 14 previous Tests, with their most recent reverse coming in last week's opening Rugby Championship match at Newlands.
The Springboks made two changes from that side as Adriaan Strauss replaced the injured Bismarck du Plessis at hooker, while Jacques Potgieter was promoted from the bench to start at blindside flanker, with Keegan Daniel making way. The home side brought in Nicolas Sanchez at number 10 with Juan Martin Hernandez injured, while Rodriguez came in for Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino.
Argentina dominated the first half and entered the break 13-3 ahead thanks to Fernandez's and the boot of Martin Rodriguez, who converted two penalties and a conversion. But South Africa could have taken the lead after three minutes after the visitors were penalised for being off their feet at a ruck, but Frans Steyn missed from 47 yards.
The home side were first on the board as Rodriguez converted a penalty after Jannie du Plessis was penalised for an infringement at a maul. And Argentina extended their lead after 17 minutes when Juan Figallo passed to Fernandez, who touched down underneath the posts with the extras added by Rodriguez.
Rodriguez could have put his side 13 points ahead after Bryan Habana was pulled up for handling while on the ground, but the full-back could not convert. The visitors finally got on the scoreboard seven minutes before the break after the Pumas were again penalised at the ruck, with Morne Steyn knocking it over. However Rodriguez ensured his side went into the break 10 points clear, converting a penalty after 36 minutes.
Out-muscled and outplayed in the first 40 minutes, South Africa needed to strike first and were thankful that nine minutes after the restart Steyn took advantage of Rodrigo Roncero's infringement at the ruck to bring the score back to 13-6. However indiscipline again from South Africa, this time from replacement Flip van der Merwe, gave Rodriguez the opportunity to add to the Pumas' tally and the 27-year-old made no mistake.
Morne Steyn kept his side in the match as once again the teams exchanged three-pointers. South Africa turned the screw and with 15 minutes left scored their first try of the match. Frans Steyn charged down a Marcelo Bosch clearance and touched down, with his conversion levelling the scores.
They could have won it but Morne Steyn missed a penalty with six minutes left as the Springboks left with their unbeaten record intact.
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