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South Africa made to work for Argentina victory

Damian de Allende of the Springboks is tackled by the Argentina defence

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Article Published: Saturday 16 August 2014|

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South Africa's Springboks were made to work for their opening victory in the Rugby Championship but eventually won the match 13-6 at Loftus Versfeld.

South Africa scored their first try in the second minute of the match but even after making the perfect start they were unable to pull more than 7 points clear of Argentina for the rest of the match.

An almost unprecedented Highveld shower for the middle of August descended on Loftus Versfeld and played a major part in the overall quality of the spectacle.

The humid Pretoria air should have been an early warning that the capital city would experience a rare winter shower.

An hour before kick-off the rainclouds gathered and grew darker approaching the start and as the sides sang the anthems the rain bucketed down.

However, the unexpected inclement weather seemed to have little influence on South Africa as the side pounced from the first kick of the ball.

Receiving the ball from the whistle, the Boks took the ball up to where it went to the blindside to Cornal Hendricks, beating his man before offloading to Ruan Pienaar, who darted from the 22 to scored the try.

Pollard added the two points to ensure the Boks a seven-point lead with only a minute-and-a-half gone on the stadium clock.

From there on, rain proved once again to be the great equaliser as the match unravelled due to a complement of handling errors from both teams as the rain continued unabated throughout the first half.

The tourists got onto the scoreboard in the seventh minute courtesy of a penalty conversion by Argentine flyhalf Nicolas Sanchez shortly after Pollard missed with his attempt at goal.

Although the weather was a nuisance to both teams, Argentina seemed to handle the conditions slightly better.

The visitors had South Africa's number in the scrums, while the lineouts also did not provide much comfort to the hosts.

Pollard returned the lead to seven points in the 16th minute which remained that way for the rest of the half.

South Africa should have gone into the half-time break with a larger advantage after some opportunities went to waste.

The Boks came painstakingly close to scoring on two occasions with fullback

Willie le Roux fumbling a chip-and-chase ball five metres from the line, while Pollard knocked the ball with an open tryline.

The home side employed a kicking tactic to counter the wet conditions but they ultimately lacked in execution as the ball placement was poor on most occasions.

Argentina closed the gap shortly after the restart with Sanchez, who was a pest on attack as he broke the line a few times, adding a three-pointer to the score to reduced the deficit to four points in the 42nd minute.

Eight minutes later, Pollard's replacement, Morne Steyn returned South Africa's lead to seven points with a penalty conversion.

At this stage the rain had abated to a trickle and the Boks seem to run the ball instead of kicking the ball into the opposition's hands.

The final 10 minutes of the encounter developed into a tense arm-wrestle as Argentina chipped away at the Boks' defences and into their half.

With six minutes left on the clock the visitors earned a penalty and kicked for the line where they set up a lineout five metres from the line.

The Boks managed to get out of jail and managed to avert the second Rugby Championship draw of the day after New Zealand and Australia played to a 12-12 stalemate earlier on Saturday.

Argentina remained undeterred and continued probing and again the visitors came close to scoring when a Steyn clearance kick was charged down before debutant Damian de Allende snatched the ball from the hands of a Argentine player inside the goal area.

Just short of a minute from time Argentina again formed an attacking lineout five metres from the line and launched attack on the line but a handling error brought the match to a dramatic end.

Although the wet weather had an impact on the match, Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer would be anything but satisfied with the performance.

Final Score South Africa 13 (10) Argentina 6 (3)

Scorers

South Africa
Tries - R.Pienaar
Pen - H.Pollard, M.Steyn
Con - H.Pollard
Drop -
Cards -

Argentina
Tries -
Pen - N.Sanchez 2
Con -
Drop -
Cards -

Match Officials
Referee
: John Lacey
Assistant Ref 1:Steve Walsh
Assistant Ref 2:Marius Mitrea
TMO : McDowell

Teams

South Africa

15. Willie le Roux , 14. Cornal Hendricks , 13. Damian de Allende , 12. Jean de Villiers (c) , 11. Bryan Habana , 10. Handre Pollard , 9. Ruan Pienaar , 8. Duane Vermeulen , 7. Marcell Coetzee, 6. Francois Louw , 5. Lood de Jager , 4. Bakkies Botha , 3. Jannie du Plessis , 2. Bismarck du Plessis (vc) , 1. Tendai Mtawarira

Replacements: 16. Adriaan Strauss , 17. Trevor Nyakane , 18. Frans Malherbe , 19. Eben Etzebeth , 20. Teboho "Oupa" Mohoje, 21. Francois Hougaard , 22. Morne Steyn , 23. Jan Serfontein

Argentina

Joaquin Tuculet; Horacio Agulla, Marcelo Bosch, Juan Martin Hernandez, Manuel Montero; Nicolas Sanchez, Martin Landajo; Juan Manuel Leguizamon, Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe, Pablo Matera; Tomas Lavanini, Mariano Galarza; Ramiro Herrera, Agustin Creevy (capt), Marcos Ayerza

Replacements: Matias Cortese, Lucas Noguera Paz, Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, Matias Alemanno, Leonardo Senatore, Tomas Cubelli, Santiago Gonzalez Iglesias, Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino

 
 
 
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