Springboks overpower Argentina in PE

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Courtnall Skosan scores a try for the Boks
  • Post published:August 19, 2017

The Springboks produced a physically superior performance to power their way to a 37-15 win over Argentina on Saturday. CRAIG LEWIS reports in Port Elizabeth.

After an encouraging June series against France, the Boks took another considerable step forward as they outmuscled the passionate Pumas at a packed Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, while nullifying the visitors’ unpredictable attack through steadfast defence.

For all intents and purposes, the Springboks’ realistic goal at this stage of their evolution will be to target a second-place finish in the Rugby Championship – with the All Blacks remaining a class of their own – but the Boks can certainly be pleased with this start to the campaign.

As it is, the Springboks came into this clash having lost seven of their last nine games in the Rugby Championship, but they never looked in any real danger of suffering another defeat this time out.

While there is room for improvement with regards to the Boks’ attack, which remains too lateral at times, there is ultimately little doubt that they have a far clearer idea of what constitutes winning Test rugby.

Indeed, it was the hosts who made most of the early running, with Elton Jantjies making sure of a 12th-minute penalty just moments after missing a drop-goal attempt.

Unfortunately, as we have become far too accustomed, it was then the turn of controversial referee Romain Poite to again come under the spotlight when he ruled out what looked to be a legitimate Bok try. While the French official adjudged the ball to have gone forward, replays showed it had in fact come off an Argentinian hand.

Nevertheless, the Boks would have been pleased by their general gainline and forward dominance, while each time Argentina enjoyed some possession, they were met by a flat and organised Bok defensive line.

Jantjies would slot a 20th-minute penalty to edge the Boks further ahead, but just after the half-hour mark, the Pumas produced a typically opportunistic counter-attack, which eventually resulted in a try for Martin Landajo against the run of play.

That would have set alarm bells ringing for the Boks, who had spoken all week of the need to maintain accuracy against a Pumas team that is so lethal from broken play. However, just before the break, Courtnall Skosan produced a moment of magic as he bundled over a defender, quickly returned to his feet and then sniped away to score.

It allowed the Boks to at least open up an eight-point buffer after an opening half in which they’d enjoyed as much as 66% possession, while beating defenders 13 to four.

Nicolás Sánchez and Jantjies traded penalties after the restart, but as the Boks began to win the battle at the breakdown and in the physical exchanges, so Argentina began to concede penalties.

Indeed, it was after opting to kick a penalty to the corner that the Boks recycled possession, with a lovely pass from Jan Serfontein putting Raymond Rhule away to score in the 52nd minute.

Argentina did respond when opposite number Emiliano Boffelli went over to score soon after, but some lovely handling from the Boks enabled Siya Kolisi to go over under the posts to restore a 15-point advantage with as many minutes to play.

Pieter-Steph du Toit ensured that the scoreline would look even more flattering for the Boks when he scored next, while from there, the home side cruised to another victory that will continue to help restore the public’s faith in this team.

Springboks – Tries: Courtnall Skosan, Raymond Rhule, Siya Kolisi, Pieter-Steph du Toit. Conversions: Elton Jantjies (4). Penalties: Jantjies (3).
Argentina – Tries: Martín Landajo, Emiliano Boffelli. Conversion: Nicolás Sánchez. Penalty: Sánchez.

Springboks – 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Raymond Rhule, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Jan Serfontein, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Ross Cronjé, 8 Uzair Cassiem, 7 Jaco Kriel, 6 Siya Kolisi, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Coenie Oosthuizen, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Beast Mtawarira.
Subs: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Trevor Nyakane,19 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 20 Jean-Luc du Preez, 21 Francois Hougaard, 22 Curwin Bosch, 23 Damian de Allende.

Argentina – 15 Joaquín Tuculet, 14 Ramiro Moyano, 13 Matías Orlando, 12 Jerónimo de la Fuente, 11 Emiliano Boffelli, 10 Nicolás Sánchez, 9 Martín Landajo, 8 Leonardo Senatore, 7 Pablo Matera, 6 Tomás Lezana, 5 Tomás Lavanini, 4 Guido Petti, 3 Enrique Pieretto, 2 Agustín Creevy (c), 1 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro.
Subs: 16 Julián Montoya, 17 Lucas Noguera, 18 Ramiro Herrera, 19 Marcos Cremer, 20 Javier Ortega Desio, 21 Tomas Cubelli, 22 Juan Martin Hernandez, 23 Matías Moroni.

Photo: @Springboks/Twitter