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Springboks overpower Argentina

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South Africa beat Argentina 34-21 at Kings Park, Durban, opening their Rugby Championship campaign with a win.

Aphiwe Dyantyi and Makazole Mapimpi both scored twice for the Springboks as the home team came from 5-14 down after half an hour.

Lukhanyo Am, who had another good game in the green and gold, opened the scoring in the eighth minute.

Faf de Klerk continues to impress since his return to the Boks. His kicking was vital, keeping his team on the front foot.

The scrumhalf set up Dyanti’s second with a well-weighted box-kick.

He also set Mapimpi away for the flyer’s first try soon after the interval as well as getting a score, himself, late in the game.

Eben Etzebeth made a stellar return to international rugby after an eight-month layoff, carrying with conviction and strong in defence.

Malcolm Marx was outstanding, yet again, winning three penalty turnovers at the ruck which allowed South Africa to halt the huge Argentina pack.

Argentina had their moments, scoring twice through Nicolás Sánchez and Pablo Matera to take a nine-point lead.

Handre Pollard had a poor day from the kicking tee, missing five of his seven kicks at goal which kept Los Pumas in the game.

The Springboks kept the south Americans scoreless from the 29th minute to the 67th before Matías Moroni intercepted Damian Willemse’s floated pass to bring the scores to within six points at 27-21.

However, the hosts sealed the game when De Klerk scored the Boks’ sixth.

South Africa got off to a great start, firing out the blocks as they opened the scoring when Am barged his way over.

But Argentina hit back after Willie le Roux knocked on Sanchez’s highball. The ball was recycled quickly to the flyhalf, who darted through under the sticks.

Siya Kolisi broke down the sideline, but the Le Roux took too long to get to the breakdown and the visitors took advantage.

The loose ball was picked up and sent through the hands to Matera, who crashed over in the corner.

Up to then, it had been all Springboks, but some loose handling and poor lineouts gave away possession in dangerous areas.

But the home team stuck to their guns, using box-kicks and highballs to win back possession.

Le Roux atoned for his earlier error with a wonderful crosskick for Dyanti to pull the scores to within one.

Pollard missed again, then his third attempt before halftime.

It did not matter because Dyanti was over for his double three minutes after the break with a superb finish.

The 23-year-old adds X-factor to the Boks and he chased De Klerk’s kick, caught the ball and used his momentum to carry himself towards the line before reaching out to score.

Pollard, somehow after missing three easier kicks, slotted the sideline conversion to make it 17-14.

Marx was winning penalties at the ruck, while Tendai Mtawarira was winning a scrum-penalty to give the Boks good attacking field position.

Despite Marx’s poor throwing, the Springboks managed to keep most of the ball and go through long attacking periods of play.

This led to Mapimpi’s first score. It was that man Faf again. Marx and “Beast” were both stopped on the try line.

The halfback looked up saw the winger alone on the touchline and sent a long, floated pass. Mapimpi walked over.

Pollard missed again.

Soon after, Marx won his third penalty at the breakdown.

Moroni was pinged for obstruction, De Klerk went quickly, setting up the next score.

The ball was sent wide to Dyanti, who had come across from his wing.

He could have walked over for his hat-trick, but instead, he shared the love, choosing to give his fellow winger an easy score.

Pollard missed another, however, the lead was three scores and comfortable, or so the Springboks fans thought.

Willemse, on for his debut struggled before throwing a loose floated pass to fellow debutant Marco van Staden.

It sailed over Van Staden’s head and into the hands of Maroni.

The centre took the gift and ran in under the posts. Sanchez reduced the deficit to six with a quickly taken drop-kick.

Any nerves Rassie Erasmus’ men might have had were soon gone when De Klerk finished with a dart around the ruck to secure the victory.

South Africa versus Argentina video highlights

Final score: South Africa 34 (10) Argentina 21 (14)

Scorers

South Africa
Tries – Am, Dyantyi (2), Mapimpi (2), De Klerk
Pen –
Con – Pollard (2)
Drop –
Cards –

Argentina
Tries – Sánchez, Matera, Moroni
Pen –
Con – Sánchez (3)
Drop –
Cards –

Match Officials
Referee: Ben O’Keeffe (NZRU)
Assistant Ref 1: Angus Gardner (ARU)
Assistant Ref 2: Andrew Brace (IRFU)
TMO: Simon McDowell

Teams

South Africa

15 Willie le Roux, 14 Makazole Mapimpi, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 André Esterhuizen, 11 Aphiwe Dyantyi, 10 Handré Pollard, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Warren Whiteley, 7 Siya Kolisi (captain), 6 Francois Louw, 5 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.

Replacements: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Thomas du Toit, 19 Marvin Orie, 20 Marco van Staden, 21 Embrose Papier, 22 Lionel Mapoe, 23 Damian Willemse.

Argentina

15 Emiliano Boffelli, 14 Bautista Delguy, 13 Matías Moroni, 12 Bautista Ezcurra, 11 Ramiro Moyano, 10 Nicolás Sánchez, 9 Gonzalo Bertranou, 8 Javier Ortega Desio, 7 Marcos Kremer, 6 Pablo Matera, 5 Matías Alemanno, 4 Guido Petti, 3 Juan Figallo, 2 Agustín Creevy (captain), 1 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro

Replacements: 16 Diego Fortuny, 17 Santiago García Botta, 18 Santiago Medrano, 19 Tomás Lavanini, 20 Tomás Lezana, 21 Martín Landajo, 22 Santiago Gonzalez Iglesias, 23 Juan Cruz Mallia

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