Springboks power to record victory over Pumas
August 17, 2013
South Africa's Jean de Villiers is shackled by the Argentina defence in Johannesburg
© Getty Images
South Africa opened their Rugby Championship account with a crushing 73-13 victory over Argentina at the FNB Stadium in Johannesburg on Saturday.
Match Analysis by ESPNscrum's Graham Jenkins
The hosts ran in nine tries - with no-one notching more than one score - to claim a record victory over the Pumas and sound out an ominous warning to their rivals for the southern hemisphere crown.
The Boks' early dominance was rewarded with a penalty try and winger JJ Engelbrecht also crossed before half time but they raised their game again after the break with hooker Adriaan Strauss, lock Willem Alberts, centre Jean de Villiers, replacement scrum-half Fourie du Preez, winger Bryan Habana, No.8 Duane Vermeulen and replacement hooker Bismarck du Plessis all heaping pain on the Pumas. Fly-half Morne Steyn was also in fine form with a clinical 28-point haul during a near-faultless kicking display.
Argentina, who claimed a famous 16-16 draw in their last clash with the Springboks, were simply outclassed and outplayed in a painfully one-sided clash. Two first half penalties from centre Felipe Contepomi hinted that another close contest was on the cards but they were soon swept aside by an infinitely superior South Africa with a last-gasp try from the Pumas' skipper no more than a consolation.
The hosts dominated possession from the off and were 6-0 ahead inside the opening 10 minutes thanks to two penalties from Steyn before he added a third to restore their six-point lead after Contepomi had halved the deficit with his own kick.
Contepomi once again reduced the deficit to three points after Strauss was penalised for hands in the ruck, but that was as good as it got for the Pumas, who conceded a penalty try in the 29th minute for an intentional knock down, with Eusebio Guinazu shown a yellow card.
Steyn added the extras and it was the talismanic fly-half who broke from deep inside his own half three minutes later after the ball had been turned over to tee up Engelbrecht for an easy try. Steyn once more slotted the conversion and added a penalty just before the interval to give the Boks a commanding 20-point lead.
It got even better for the hosts, who won a lineout before Strauss drove over the try line four minutes after the re-start, with Leonardo Senatore becoming the second Argentinian to receive a yellow card after tip tackling Engelbrecht soon after.
South Africa showed their dominance at the lineout as Alberts drove over the line in the 51st minute, with Steyn missing his only conversion, and they had their fifth try soon after as De Villiers intercepted a pass before cutting through several defenders to cross the whitewash.
Substitute Du Preez crossed just after the hour mark following good work from De Villiers and Habana, who then registered his side's seventh try of the evening after 65 minutes.
Vermeulen and Du Plessis also crossed to seal a memorable victory for the Springboks although they were denied their highest ever victory over Argentina, with Contepomi grabbing a consolation try at the death.
Argentina's Juan Martin Hernandez claims a high ball in a rare high moment for the Pumas © Getty Images
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