South Africa 37-15 Argentina: Springboks get Rugby Championship campaign off to a winning start
By Keith Moore
Last Updated: 19/08/17 7:58pm
South Africa remain unbeaten in 2017 after they beat Argentina 37-15 in their Rugby Championship opener in Port Elizabeth on Saturday.
Tries from Courtnall Skosan, Raymond Rhule, Siya Kolisi and Pieter-Steph du Toit gave the Boks a winning start to the southern hemisphere campaign which comes on the back of their 3-0 whitewash of France in June.
Allister Coetzee's side were dominant up front, and set the tempo of the match, but were unable to register a try-bonus point as the All Blacks ended the first round at the top of the Rugby Championship table following their 54-34 win over Australia in Sydney earlier in the day.
There were several good individual performances from the home side, including that of Kolisi, Jaco Kriel and Malcolm Marx, as the Boks now turn their attention to the second round where they travel to Argentina to take on the Pumas once more.
A 12th-minute penalty from Elton Jantjies opened the scoring for the Boks in Port Elizabeth, and the hosts were almost in for their first try shortly thereafter.
Just as Jaco Kriel was about to dot down referee Romain Poite called play back for a knock-on, however replays showed it was an incorrect call as the ball had come off an Argentine hand.
A let-off for the Pumas but there was no such luck when they strayed offside during a threatening Springbok attack and Jantjies stepped up to put his side 6-0 ahead at the close of the first quarter. Nicholas Sanchez had an opportunity to reduce the lead when he lined up a shot at goal following a high tackle, but he sent his effort wide.
Argentina then scored the try of the game from a counter-attack that started deep in their own half. Jan Serfontein kicked ahead, and Joaquin Tuculet spun out of contact and made a blistering break before passing to winger Emiliano Boffelli, who then put in a lovely grubber kick which Martin Landajo latched onto to dive over in the corner.
However the Springboks had the final say of the half when Skosan broke through a tackle to race over untouched, leaving the Boks 13-5 ahead at the break.
The fly-halves then traded penalties early in the second half before Rhule was put into space and straightened his line to crash over for the first try of the second half.
When Boffelli crossed in the corner to make it an eight-point game on the hour mark it looked as though the visitors were clawing their way back into the game, but a series of penalties for the Boks were kicked to the corner, and they were rewarded with a try to local hero Kolisi, who took a pass from Serfontein to round the defence and put his side 30-15 ahead with 13 minutes remaining.
Du Toit then settled matters by muscling over from close range to hand the Boks a comfortable win in their first outing of the Rugby Championship.