Springboks overpower debutant Pumas


South Africa 27 Argentina 6:Zane Kirchner, Marcell Coetzee and Bryan Habana grabbed tries as South Africa defeated Argentina 27-6 at Newlands on Saturday in their opening match in the inaugural Rugby Championship.

Zane Kirchner, Marcell Coetzee and Bryan Habana grabbed tries as South Africa brushed Argentina aside 27-6 at Newlands on Saturday in their opening match in the inaugural Rugby Championship.

The Springbok pack did not yield in defence against the massive opposition forwards and their strong ball-carriers won enough momentum to dominate territory and possession.

Outhalf Morne Steyn steered South Africa to victory, booting three conversions and two penalties and also helping to set up two of the three tries.

Argentina's points came from two penalties from Juan Martin Hernandez.

Two incisive attacks down the flanks by wings Habana and Lwazi Mvovo created an early penalty by Steyn but the home side were rocked when hooker Bismarck du Plessis went off with a knee injury. He was replaced by Adriaan Strauss who came on to win his 13th cap.

Argentina held on to the ball well in the opening exchanges but could not make any headway against the steely Springbok defence until Hernandez launched a pinpoint up-and-under.

Santiago Fernandez dispossessed fullback Kirchner who then played the ball while lying on the ground, gifting Hernandez a penalty to level the scores at 3-3 after 14 minutes.

Kirchner made amends with a touchdown, pouncing on a pass from Steyn before cutting inside and evading two tackles. Steyn's conversion made it 10-3 and Argentina, who fell foul of referee Steve Walsh in the first half due to indiscipline, handed three more points to the prolific flyhalf when they were caught offside at a lineout.

The Pumas continued to concede penalties and South Africa used rolling mauls to good effect before one of them brought a try as Coetzee broke on the blindside to charge over the line.

Steyn booted the touchline conversion to give the Springboks a 20-3 advantage.

Hernandez then kicked his second penalty before halftime to reduce the deficit to 20-6 after Strauss had been caught offside.

Any hopes Argentina had of getting back in the game were dashed when Hernandez and centre Marcelo Bosch missed three penalties between them in the opening six minutes of the second period.

That served to reinvigorate the Springboks as they started pinning the Pumas in their own half. Habana wrapped up victory when he leapt high to claim a crossfield kick from Steyn and plunged over the line.

Steyn sent the 39,000 crowd home happy by converting from the touchline.

Earlier in the day, New Zealand beat Australia 27-19 at Sydney's Olympic Stadium.

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