Rugby Championship 2021: South Africa open with 32-12 win over Argentina
Fly-half Jantjies kicked 17 points for the home side, with Cobus Reinach, Aphelele Fassi and debutant Jaden Hendrikse all crossing for tries; All of Argentina's points came from the boot of Nicolas Sanchez
Last Updated: 14/08/21 6:48pm
Elton Jantjies kicked 17 points as South Africa began their 2021 Rugby Championship campaign with a 32-12 win against Argentina at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Saturday.
Cobus Reinach's solo try on the counter-attack and a fine finish from Aphelele Fassi helped the Springboks into a 21-9 lead at half time, with fly-half Jantjies landing a conversion and three penalties as well.
Argentina's first-half points all came from the boot of Nicolas Sanchez and he added a fourth after the restart, but two more from Jantjies and a debut try from replacement Jaden Hendriske proved enough to put the seal on the win.
The two sides will meet again at the same venue next Saturday before they both head off for the Australasian leg of the competition. The Springboks missed the 2020 Rugby Championship due to concerns over player welfare in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Home head coach Jacques Nienaber made 10 changes to their side from the last Lions Test and while South Africa showed the same defensive proficiency, having conceded only two tries in five Tests since the 2019 World Cup, they struggled for cohesion on attack at times.
Argentina have only been together in South Africa for just a week and showed plenty of endeavour and willingness to attack, but lacked the sharpness to execute against the well-organised hosts.
Jantjies landed an early penalty from the Boks' first attack, before the home side bagged a first try with a breakaway from Reinach deep inside his own half.
Argentina tried an elaborate backline move from a scrum, but when the ball was spilled, the former Northampton Saints scrum-half showed electric pace to beat the covering defence.
Then Jantjies' brilliant kick behind the Argentina defence to winger Fassi was perfect and the latter crossed in the corner as the home side led 21-9 at half-time.
Both sides made numerous handling errors in a scrappy second half but the Boks showed greater control, especially at the set-piece where they began to dominate Argentina in the scrum.
Fassi crossed for what he thought was a second try with 10 minutes remaining, but it was ruled out after the intervention of the Television Match Official as replacement hooker Malcolm Marx was adjusted to have made a double movement in the build-up.
The home side managed another though as Hendrikse marked a memorable debut with a score in the corner as the Boks powered into the Argentina 22.