South Africa beat Argentina 13-46 to win the 2019 Rugby Championship at Estadio Padre Ernesto Martearena in sunny Salta.
The Springboks ended a decade-long drought to lift The Rugby Championship for the first time, their first southern hemisphere title since winning the 2009 Tri-Nations.
Handré Pollard starred for South Africa with one of the best displays at first receiver for the men in green and gold.
It was a performance reminiscent of his Ellis Park masterclass against New Zealand in the Springboks’ 27-25 win in 2014.
Pollard scored twice that day, and he was at it again in the sunshine of South America.
He, again, dominated with a multi-faceted display for the ages.
The 25-year-old flyhalf grabbed a brace and kicked 21 points for a match haul of 31 as South Africa ground down their hosts.
Pollard also assisted for Makazole Mapimpi’s score on 64 minutes to cap off a virtuoso Test performance.
Rassie Erasmus will be delighted with this all-round team effort, but especially the forwards
Erasmus, who won the title as a player in 1998, becomes the fourth South African coach to win the southern hemisphere title.
This performance was no Tango, more a demolition job.
Mbongeni Mbonambi and Cheslin Kolbe also crossed as the Boks put up a forty-burger.
Trevor Nyakane, Mbonambi and Tendai Mtawarira beasted the Pumas’ front row.
Malcolm Marx, Steven Kitshoff and Frans Malherbe came off the bench and continued the rout.
Argentina coach Mario Ledesma could only bang his desk and shake his head as his charges squandered multiple attacking opportunities in the second half.
Springboks scrumhalf Faf de Klerk was yellow-carded after the break for repeated infringements.
The score at the time was 13-27, and the Pumas battered away at the Boks’ goal-line.
Los Pumas, however, could not find the finishing touch.
Instead, Pollard dived over from close range to seal the deal and the silverware.
There was still time for Mapimpi and Kolbe to cross for the Boks, who kept the Pumas scoreless in the second stanza with a mammoth defensive effort.
Los Pumas start strong, but cannot keep the pace
Argentina got off to a dream start when Santiago Cordero caught Nicolás Sánchez’s pin-point cross-kick to open the scoring in the second minute.
Sánchez curled the touchline conversion between the posts to make it 7-nil.
Pollard put the Boks on the board with a long-distance penalty in the ninth minute.
South Africa won a penalty after a counter-attack from their half. Duane Vermeulen opted for the lineout and driving maul.
It proved an inspired call because Mbonambi flopped over the whitewash.
Pollard missed the sideline conversion, but the Springboks led by one.
Ill-discipline was proving costly for both teams
Sánchez and Pollard exchanged penalties as the visitors led by one entering the second quarter.
Mistakes were proving costly as both flyhalves kept the scoreboard ticking. It was tit for tat.
Another Sánchez three-pointer, after multiple infringements at the breakdown, kept Los Pumas on the Boks trail.
Pollard, on the half-hour, kicked a penalty from in front after a ruck infringement.
South Africa’s pack dominated their opponents, and the penalties flowed
The Springboks scrum began to wreak havoc, winning four scrum-penalties in the first half.
A third scrum-penalty was won, but Vermeulen opted for a lineout on the opposition’s 22 instead of the points.
The attack came to nothing, this time, and three points went begging. Another scrum-penalty was kicked to the corner.
The Boks tried a cheeky blind-side move from the lineout, but they were kept out.
South Africa shifted the ball wide, and the Bok battering ram went into action.
Eben Etzebeth and Mbonambi both went close before Pollard darted over next to the sticks.
The stand-off converted his score to give the visitors an 11-point advantage at the interval.
Pollard added an early second-half penalty after De Klerk was tripped.
South Africa withstands a Pumas siege before putting them to the sword
De Klerk was sent to the naughty step for his second offsides during Argentina’s five-minute sustained attack on the Boks’ line.
Los Pumas kicked to the corner four times, but the attacks came to nothing as the visitors kept them at bay.
As is always the case, the opposition went down the field and scored. Pollard had his second, and the Boks had a 19-point lead with 25 minutes remaining.
Los Pumas did not give up, however, mistakes mounted in the red zone.
It killed any opportunity of a miracle comeback.
Mapimpi and Kolbe added to the Argentinian woes.
Jerónimo de la Fuente thought he had scored, but another handling error rendered his dive, futile.
Campeones! Campeones! Olé! Olé! Olé!
Final Score: Argentina 13 (13) South Africa 46 (24)
Tries – Cordero
Pen – Sánchez (2)
Con – Sánchez
Tries – Mbonambi, Pollard (2), Mapimpi, Kolbe
Pen – Pollard (5)
Con – Pollard (3)
Cards – De Klerk (Yellow, 48′)
Referee: Romain Poite (FFR)
Assistant Ref 1: Matthew Carley (RFU)
Assistant Ref 2: Karl Dickson (RFU)
TMO: Rowan Kitt (RFU)
15 Emiliano Boffelli, 14 Santiago Cordero, 13 Matías Moroni, 12 Jerónimo de la Fuente, 11 Ramiro Moyano, 10 Nicolás Sánchez, 9 Tomás Cubelli, 8 Facundo Isa, 7 Javier Ortega Desio, 6 Pablo Matera, 5 Marcos Kremer, 4 Matías Alemanno, 3 Juan Figallo, 2 Agustín Creevy, 1 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro.
Replacements: 16 Julian Montoya, 17 Mayco Vivas, 18 Santiago Medrano, 19 Guido Petti, 20 Tomás Lezana, 21 Gonzalo Bertranou, 22 Benjamin Urdapilleta, 23 Joaquín Tuculet.
15 Willie le Roux, 14 Cheslin Kolbe, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Handré Pollard, 9 Francois de Klerk, 8 Duane Vermeulen (captain),7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Kwagga Smith, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Trevor Nyakane, 2 Mbongeni Mbonambi, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Replacements: 16 Malcolm Marx, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Frans Malherbe, 19 Rudolph Snyman, 20 Francois Louw, 21 Herschel Jantjies, 22 Frans Steyn, 23 Jesse Kriel.