Boks escape with a draw

2012-08-25 21:28

Argentina (13) 16

South Africa (3) 16

It was a brave performance by the Argentinians, as their captain, Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe, promised would happen after their defeat in Cape Town last weekend.

The Boks had a massive scare, but they still had their unbeaten record against them intact.

It was a major shot in the arm for the hosts as they brace for a tough Australasian assignment. As for Heyneke Meyer’s men, there is a lot of head scratching to do.

Unlike last week at Newlands, where the Pumas seemed to stand back and let the Boks do all the playing, this time they showed the visitors that South Africa was miles away.

Martin Rodriguez, who stepped into Juan Martin Hernandez’s big kicking boots, handled the pressure with aplomb and put his side ahead with a penalty.

With the partizan Mendoza crowd firmly rooting behind them, they channelled that support into their physicality at the tackle point.

The Boks seemed to slip off the tackles and those missed tackles led to Argentina’s try, scored by Santiago Fernandez.

Eusebio Guinazu was the catalyst, as he crashed through would-be tackles from Andries Bekker and serial turnstile Morne Steyn.

The Pumas out-Bokked the Springboks as they went through the phases quickly. They battered until a gap opened up and Rodriguez waltzed in under the poles. All the Springboks had to show for their first half effort was a measly Steyn penalty.

However, they came out with more intent in the second half and tried another long-range pot shot through Frans Steyn, which narrowly went wide. Steyn, the fly half, narrowed the gap to seven as Mendoza’s high altitude added distance to his kicks.

Just as the visitors were getting their way back, a lineout indiscretion by Flip van der Merwe saw Rodriguez regain the 10-point.

Argentina’s breakdown ill-discipline, which haunted them at Newlands, resurfaced as Juan Figallo was blown for contesting the ball off his feet.
Morne Steyn added the three points, but that did not stop Argentina from attacking and reserve scrumhalf Martin Landajo danced past the Bok defence, only for his attempted grubber to come a desperately scrambling defender.

Frans Steyn’s try, which helped the Boks draw level, came against the run of play as the burly centre charged down Marcelo Bosch’s clearance in the 22 and chased it up to score.

Morne Steyn had a golden chance to get the Boks ahead after another ruck infringement by the Pumas.

His normally ice-cool temperament deserted him has his penalty sailed wide.

The Boks were lucky to escape with the draw while Santiago Phelan could look back on an opportunity missed. At least they can still rely on Mendoza as their fortress.

South Africa will play Australia on September 8.

Try: Santiago Fernandez
Conversions: Martin Rodriguez
Penalties: Rodriguez (3)
South Africa:
Try: Frans Steyn
Conversion: Morne Steyn
Penalties: Morne Steyn (3)

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