The Springboks dominate the first half, risk psychodrama in the second half and despite the numerical inferiority they put things right in the last 5 minutes
South Africa, what a thrill! Remains in 13, suffers but beats Argentina 29-20 (Photo by JUAN MABROMATA / AFP)
South Africa is still there, and the Rugby Championship will be played on the final day. Nienaber’s team beat a heroic Argentina for 36-20, after a dominated first half and a second fraction of great suffering, after being even 13 for two yellow cards in Le Roux and Smith. At 20-22, everything seemed to be under discussion, but in the final, still with one man less, De Allende’s goal closed the game, and when the time was up Marx made the passive even heavier than the Pumas deserved.
The Chronicle of Argentina-South Africa
Argentina challenge South Africa on the foot, with Gonzalo Bertranou kicking from base and De la Fuente helping Carreras in tactical play. The first few minutes are of study, then an ingenuity by Mostert grants Boffelli the opportunity to place from the middle of the field. The Argentine, as always, is a sniper and is the first to move the board.
The response of the Springboks is entrusted to Willemse and De Allende, who often attack the line and put the Argentine defense in difficulty, forced to foul twice, at 12 ‘and 15’: on the first occasion, the South African 10 marks the kick of the draw, but then wastes the opportunity of overtaking. At 19 ‘Boffelli is also wrong, who from a very long distance does not find the right angle.
At 20 ‘the first real chance of the match arrives: Canan Moodie lights up and burns Bertranou, is tackled one meter from the goal line but Hendrikse arrives who collects the ball from the base to mark, being held high by Santiago Carreras. The Argentine opening, however, was offside, and the save cost him a yellow card and a free-kick try.
Another naive foul, this time by Etzebeth who gets his hands on the ball with the ruck still formed, allows Boffelli to close the gap for 6-10. The South African second line was forgiven soon after, putting pressure on the next goal kick and earning a major free kick. We go for the lineout at 5 meters, and twice the Pumas are saved with a foul: on the third attempt Argentina defends the maul well, and on a regular basis, but after a series of charges the defensive line – with a man less – it frays and Hendrikse finds the passage to go and crush in the middle of the poles.
Argentina fails to maintain the right level of discipline, allowing South Africa to once again unleash their best weapon: at 32 ‘from a touch at 5 meters an overwhelming maul comes out from the Springboks, with Malcom Marx finalizing for the third half: 6-22.
The Pumas are anchored in the orderly melee, with Tetaz Chaparro putting Malherbe in trouble and allowing his team to return to the attack with a penaltouche. Montoya opts for a “smart”, which however is read perfectly by Kitshoff and the action fades. Just the South African left prop makes Bello lose support in the next scrum, and makes his scrum package take revenge.
In the final of the first half comes another blaze of the Springboks, who call their scrum 5 meters from the opponent’s goal line: a courageous decision, but which bears fruit, because on the following multiphase Argentina is still forced to foul. Bertranou pays for everyone and goes out for 10 minutes. De Jager’s subsequent try is canceled for a forward by Mostert, and it goes to the interval at 6-22.
The recovery begins in the name of the broken game. Matera intercepts and with a five-a-side football tries to send Carreras to the goal, stopped by Kolisi. The Pumas maintain possession but on the other side it is De Allende who finds another interception: the center does not have the legs to go all the way, he finds Mapimpi for a support that would have sent him undisturbed in the goal but completely misses the passage, pardoning Argentina.
The Pumas try to stay attached to the game and fight furiously on the meeting point, while in attack they rely on the speed and skill of their backs: linebreak, offload and a lot of intensity, and for the first time South Africa seems to suffer, yield to indiscipline and at the time of play Le Roux is booked for the sum of team fouls.
Argentina tries them all, and at 65 ‘Cubelli collects the ball from the advancing scrum and attacks in first person, jumps De Klerk and is tackled in the neck by Smith one step away from the goal line: the technical goal arrives, resulting in a yellow card for the third South African line: 13-22 with a quarter of an hour to go. In 15 against 13 the Pumas have the game in hand: Kremer’s splendid crossing for Moroni’s run that resists the recovery of three opponents and flies in the middle of the posts, despite Mapimpi trying everything to stop him: 11 minutes from the end is 20-22.CopyAMP code.
Le Roux returns after the yellow card, and in 14 South Africa seems to find some stability. We rely on the fundamentals: Frans Steyn’s foot, maul and advancing positions. The decisive one is the usual De Allende, who in the 75th minute closes a game that was going very badly for the Springboks. With the time expired, Malcom Marx’s second signing also arrives, author of a sumptuous match: the hooker controls a difficult Mapimpi ball and flies to the flag for the final 36-20. A fundamental goal, because it allows South Africa to get the bonus point and reach the All Blacks at the top of the standings.
Argentina: 15 Juan Cruz Mallia, 14 Emiliano Boffelli, 13 Jeronimo De La Fuente, 12 Matias Orlando, 11 Lucio Cinti, 10 Santiago Carreras, 9 Gonzalo Bertranou, 8 Pablo Matera, 7 Marcos Kremer, 6 Juan Martin Gonzalez, 5 Tomas Lavanini, 4 Matias Alemanno, 3 Eduardo Bello, 2 Julian Montoya (captain), 1 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro.
Available: 16 Agustin Creevy, 17 Thomas Gallo, 18 Joel Sclavi, 19 Guido Petti, 20 Rodrigo Bruni, 21 Tomas Cubelli, 22 Benjamin Urdapilleta, 23 Matias Moroni.
Goals: technical goal 66 ‘, Moroni 68’
Transformations: Boffelli 68 ′
Free kicks: Boffelli 9 ′, 24 ′
South Africa: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Canan Moodie, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Damian Willemse, 9 Jaden Hendrikse, 8 Jasper Wiese, 7 Franco Mostert, 6 Siyamthanda Kolisi (captain), 5 Lodewyk de Jager , 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Available: 16 Deon Fourie, 17 Retshegofaditswe Nche, 18 Trevor Nyakane, 19 Elrigh Louw, 20 Albertus Smith, 21 Francois de Klerk, 22 Andre Esterhuizen, 23 Francois Steyn.
Goals: technical goal 21 ′, Hendrikse 27 ′, Marx 33 ′, De Allende 75 ′, Marx 80 ′
Transformations: Willemse 28 ′, Steyn 76 ′
Free Kicks: Willemse 12 ‘
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