Argentina 13-46 South Africa: Handre Pollard steers Springboks to Rugby Championship title
By Sky Sports Rugby Union
Last Updated: 11/08/19 7:13am
Handre Pollard played a starring role as South Africa claimed the 2019 Rugby Championship with a 46-13 win away to Argentina.
Fly-half Pollard's converted try and four penalties, plus an unconverted score from Bongi Mbonambi, saw the Springboks lead 24-13 at half time after Argentina had taken the lead early on through Santiago Cordero.
Rassie Erasmus' men turned the screw after the break, with Pollard going on to score a second try and take his tally for the match to 31 - equalling Morne Steyn's record for most individual points in a game.
It helped ensure South Africa claimed their first title since winning the old Tri-Nations competition in 2009.
The Springboks went into the match knowing avoiding defeat would be enough to secure the title thanks to Australia's 47-26 victory over New Zealand earlier in the day.
But they fell behind to the Pumas with barely three minutes gone when a kick over the top from Nicolas Sanchez caught the defence napping and Santiago Cordero sprinted in to dot down for a try, which fly-half Sanchez converted.
Pollard got the visitors up and running with a long-range penalty in the ninth minute, and they edged ahead five minutes later following a driving maul from a line-out which saw hooker Mbonambi dot the ball down.
Sanchez and Pollard then exchanged penalties as the game became tit for tat, but the latter helped the Boks surge ahead on the stroke of half time when he took a pass from half-back partner Faf de Klerk close to the line and finished for a try which he duly converted.
He added his fifth penalty of the match within a minute of the restart, yet Argentina were able to rally and mount a spell of pressure which led to South Africa scrum-half de Klerk being shown a yellow card following a string of penalties against the visitors close to their own line.
Somehow, the away side's defence held firm though and after seeing off that danger they were able to counter and score their third try despite being temporarily down to 14 men.
Second row Franco Mostert made the break after taking an offload from replacement prop Steven Kitshoff, followed by Cheslin Kolbe - standing in at scrum-half for the sin-binned de Klerk - recycling the ball for Pollard to racing over for his second converted try.
Argentina battled gamely after this, but a move which was started and finished by winger Makazole Mapimpi with around a quarter of an hour killed off any hopes the Pumas had of mounting a fightback.
Almost directly from the restart, replacement Frans Steyn broke the line and set in motion an attack which was finished on the right by wide man Kolbe and converted by Pollard.
That meant the Springboks had one hand on the Rugby Championship trophy and when referee Romain Poite blew the whistle for full time, it brought to an end their decade-long wait for a title to set them up perfectly going into this year's Rugby World Cup.