Argentina bounce back to hold Springboks
Argentina 16 South Africa 16:ARGENTINA STOOD on the brink of a remarkable first victory over South Africa in their second Rugby Championship match on Saturday evening before the Springboks rallied to snatch a 16-16 draw.
The match had looked like ending in a perfect home debut for the Pumas, famously tough opponents on Argentine soil long before their entry into their first annual major tournament.
Argentina dominated a first half in which the Springboks, who had beaten them 27-6 at home last weekend, were given little chance to display the running strengths they have honed in Super 15 rugby.
South Africa’s coach Heyneke Meyer pointed to the difficulty his players had endured with Argentina’s more classical Test game, played tight and close to the forwards.
“We had a lot of youngsters in the team, with not all that much experience, but it’s not an excuse. Technically we weren’t good enough at the breakdown,” he said.
Springboks captain and centre Jean de Villiers said: “It was a very frustrating game for the outside backs, we didn’t get too much ball.”
Argentina coach Santiago Phelan said: “We had hoped for another result, a winning game but we are still very satisfied We did a lot of work (on the breakdown), I think it’s a strength of Argentine rugby.”
The Pumas, who had lost their previous 14 matches against South Africa, ran up a 13-3 half-time lead after an early try by centre Santiago Fernandez.
Argentina, though, were later left to rue the kick out of defence by Fernandez that was charged down by his opposite number Frans Steyn, who chased the ball and scored the Springboks’ try 15 minutes from time.
ARGENTINA: Gurruchage; Camacho, Bosch, Fernandez, Agulla; Sanchez, Vergallo; Roncero, Guinazu, Figallo, Carizza, Albacete, Cabello, Galindo, Fernandez Lobbe.
Replacements: Postiglioni, Ayerza, Senatore, Leonardi, Landajo, Gonzalez Amorosino, Jose Imhoff.
SOUTH AFRICA: Kirchner; Habana, de Villiers, F Steyn, Mvovo; M Steyn, Hougaard; Mtawarira, Strauss, J du Plessis, Etzebeth, Bekker, Coetzee, Potgieter, Alberts.
Replacements: Liebenberg, Cilliers, van der Merwe, Daniel, Pienaar, Lambie, Engelbrecht.
REFEREE: Steve Walsh (Australia).