South Africa 34-21 Argentina: Second-half Boks get past Argentina in Durban
By Keith Moore
Last Updated: 18/08/18 9:05pm
Aphiwe Dyantyi and Makazole Mapimpi scored two tries apiece as the Springboks overturned a half-time deficit to beat Argentina 34-21 in the first round of the Rugby Championship on Saturday.
The Pumas had taken a 14-10 lead into the break thanks to tries from Nicolas Sanchez and Pablo Matera, with Lukhanyo Am and Dyantyi responding for the hosts.
But the Boks roared back in the second half, scoring 17 unanswered points through another Dyantyi try and two from Mapimpi.
Argentina did have a glimmer of hope when Matias Moroni latched onto a loose pass to race clear and make it a six-point game, but Faf de Klerk handed his side the decisive score when he sniped around the ruck from close range for a bonus-point win at Kings Park.
The game should have been more comfortable for South Africa, if not for fly-half Handre Pollard missing five kicks from the tee which cost his side 11 points.
Rassie Erasmus would have also been concerned about the ease with which the Pumas were allowed to score in the first half, mirroring the quick starts made by England in June, but it's a winning opening for the Boks as they aim to win their first Rugby Championship title since 2009.
The Springboks were first on the board when Am took a short ball from De Klerk to dive over from short range for a 5-0 lead, but the Pumas hit back soon thereafter and Sanchez had a big part throughout the move.
A penalty to the visitors was kicked to touch, and from the resulting driving maul Sanchez put up a high ball which was claimed by the Pumas right on the opposition tryline. The ball was then sent to the right, with the Argentine fly-half spotting a big gap in midfield to cross under the posts for a 7-5 lead.
That lead was increased when the Boks left the ball unattended at the back of a ruck inside their own half and Ramiro Moyano snatched it to put Matera over in the corner. Sanchez converted for a 14-5 lead.
The Boks were next to score, Aphiwe Dyantyi catching a perfectly-weighted Willie le Roux kick for a try which Pollard was unable to convert as the Boks went into half-time 14-10 down.
However, the home side came roaring back in the second half, Dyantyi getting on the end of another good kick - this time from De Klerk who spotted space behind the defence - to give South Africa the lead for the first time in the game.
And they piled on more misery when a scrum penalty was kicked to touch and the Boks went through the phases before De Klerk floated a pass over the top for Mapimpi to go over for his first try in the corner.
The winger's second soon followed, this time given the easiest of scored chances by Dyantyi after Pieter-Steph du Toit took a quick-tap penalty, putting the Boks 27-14 in front.
The Pumas were handed a lifeline when replacement Springboks Damian Willemse threw a wild pass into the middle of the field, and Moroni claimed it to run for a 27-21 deficit.
However, the Boks kept their composure, and when De Klerk spotted a gap next to the posts he went over for the score that gave his side the win and the try bonus-point.
South Africa take on Argentina once again in the second round of the tournament next weekend, this time in Mendoza, while New Zealand host Australia earlier in the day, hoping to replicate their 38-13 win in Sydney in the opening round. Both games will be live on Sky Sports.