Boks hit their stride, see off Pumas

Courtnall Skosan (Gallo)
Courtnall Skosan (Gallo)

Cape Town - They didn't have it all their own way, but in the end the Springboks were relatively comfortable victors as they got their Rugby Championship campaign off to a winning start in Port Elizabeth on Saturday with a 37-15 triumph over Argentina. 

The hosts scored four tries to the two from their visitors, and the result means that Allister Coetzee has taken his winning percentage as Springbok coach up to 50%. 

After having won four from 12 in 2016, the Boks are now four from four in 2017 to give Coetzee a return of eight from 16. 

The Springboks had started with attacking intent in front of a near-packed Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, but a period of 16 phases of ambition came to nothing. 

It set the tone for most of the first half, though, as the Boks bossed proceedings, but they couldn't reflect that dominance on the scoreboard in the first half. 

The hosts had to wait until the 11th minute before an Elton Jantjies penalty put them 3-0 up, and the Bok flyhalf knocked another one over on 19 minutes to make it 6-0. 

The South African scrum was also functioning well - an area that was considered crucial in the build-up to the match - but with ball-in-hand they struggled to effectively penetrate the Argentinean defence. 

Then, on the half-hour mark, the Boks were punished for some sloppy play. 

Jan Serfontein stabbed through a grubber that was easily read by Pumas fullback Joaquin Tuculet, who launched the counter-attack. 

The Bok defence was stretched, and a kick ahead was gathered by Pumas scrumhalf Martin Landajo, who shrugged off Raymond Rhule to score in the left-hand corner.

Nicolas Sanchez missed the conversion, but all of a sudden Argentina were just 6-5 down after having had very little in the way of attacking opportunities. 

As half-time approached, the Boks would not have been happy with their return, but a slick backline move just before the break gave them some breathing room. 

An inside pass from Jantjies saw Courtnall Skosan make the break, and although he was tackled, he got back to his feet and stepped his way to the line to give the Springboks a 13-5 lead at half-time.

The Pumas closed the gap just after the restart with a Sanchez penalty, but Jantjies hit back with his third of the night to make it 16-8.

The Boks then turned down an opportunity for three more points to set up an attacking lineout, and the result justified that decision.

The rolling maul was stopped, but the Boks then went through the phases before Rhule was released down the right flank to slide in for his first Test try. 

Jantjies converted to make it five out of five kicks, and with a 23-8 lead the Boks were sitting pretty.

Argentina, though, were not going away and they hit back with a well crafted try of their own through Emiliano Boffelli. 

23-15 down, Argentina had given themselves a chance heading into the last quarter. 

The big moment for PE came when hometown hero Siya Kolisi got his try. It came as the result of some slick hands, noticeably from substitute Jean-Luc du Preez, and when Kolisi finished off the move the Boks were home and dry. 

Pieter-Steph du Toit added a fourth in the 71st minute, but there was an even bigger roar when 20-year-old Curwin Bosch took to the field for his Springbok debut as the clock neared 80 minutes.


South Africa 37 (13)

Tries: Courtnall Skosan, Raymond Rhule, Siya Kolisi, Pieter-Steph du Toit

Conversions: Elton Jantjies (3)

Penalties: Jantjies (3)

Argentina 15 (5)

Tries: Martin Landajo, Emiliano Boffelli

Conversion: Juan Martin Hernandez

Penalty: Nicolas Sanchez


South Africa

15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Raymond Rhule, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Jan Serfontein, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Ross Cronjé, 8 Uzair Cassiem, 7 Jaco Kriel, 6 Siya Kolisi, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Eben Etzebeth (captain), 3 Coenie Oosthuizen, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Beast Mtawarira

Substitutes: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Trevor Nyakane, 19 Pieter-Steph Du Toit, 20 Jean-Luc du Preez, 21 Francois Hougaard, 22 Curwin Bosch, 23 Damian de Allende


15 Joaquin Tuculet, 14 Ramiro Moyano, 13 Matias Orlando, 12 Jeronimo de la Fuente, 11 Emiliano Boffelli, 10 Nicolas Sanchez, 9 Martin Landajo, 8 Leonardo Senatore, 7 Tomas Lezana, 6 Pablo Matera, 5 Tomas Lavanini, 4 Guido Petti, 3 Enrique Pieretto, 2 Agustin Creevy (captain), 1 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro

Substitutes: 16 Julian Montoya, 17 Lucas Noguera, 18 Ramiro Herrera, 19 Marcos Kremer, 20 Javier Ortega Desio, 21 Tomas Cubelli, 22 Juan Martin Hernandez, 23 Matias Moroni

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