Not even a passionate defensive performance from the Pumas could prevent the Springboks from opening their Rugby Championship campaign on the highest note possible by beating Argentina 37-15 at a packed Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Saturday night.
Leading 13-5 at the break, the Boks scored four tries against two but Argentina showed why they are not regarded as lightweights in world rugby any longer and pushed the Boks for long periods with their tenacity.
The moment everyone was waiting for arrived in the 76th minute when Curwin Bosch replaced Elton Jantjies at flyhalf who produced a faultless kicking performance.
The 2o-year-old received a roaring reception.
Who was the star in this match?
It’s probably grossly unfair that the award must go to a singular player because flank Siya Kolisi, flyhalf Elton Jantjies and both wingers – who scored their first tries at Test level were great – but flanker Jaco Kriel was enormous in the amount of work he went through.
Key moments of the game
- Wing Courtnall Skosan’s first try in Test rugby wasn’t only a piece of great individualistic genius but it was also crucially the Boks’ first try just three minutes before the break to turn a one-point cushion into eight.
- A lot of people would look at centre Jan Serfontein’s chip as the act which led to the Pumas’ opening try scored by scrumhalf Martin Landajo in the 32nd minute. But it wasn’t a poor option, rather a piece of greatness by the Pumas to turn a half a chance into a try scoring opportunity. Serfontein also had little real options because the Boks were so lateral on attack.
- In very windy and extremely cold conditions, Jantjies did extremely well to convert his opening two penalty chances in a 6-0 lead for the Springboks. Jantjies is a confidence kicker and he responded superbly.
- Rightwinger Raymond Rhule’s try in the 52nd minute opened up an invaluable 23-8 lead for the Boks after the Boks turned down a goalable penalty. Spectacular interplay also led to Kolisi’s brilliant score, a beautiful move between forwards and backs.
South Africa – Tries: Courtnall Skosan, Raymond Rhule, Siya Kolisi, Pieter-Steph du Toit. Conversions: Elton Jantjies (4). Penalties: Jantjies (3).
Argentina – Tries: Martin Landajo, Emiliano Bofelli. Conversion: Juan Martin Hernandez. Penalty: Nicholas Sanchez.