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Boks fall short in Rugby Championship title bid

RUGBY CHAMPS REPORT: The All Blacks have claimed the Rugby Championship title once again after the Springboks failed to meet their targets in their final-round match against Argentina on Saturday.


After the All Blacks recorded a massive 40-14 win over Australia in Auckland earlier in the day, the Boks needed to win with a bonus point and by a margin of at least 39 points.

Jacques Nienaber’s side failed to do both as they only managed a 38-21 win.

New Zealand finished with 19 points, South Africa 18, Australia 10 and Argentina nine in the most exciting Southern Hemisphere tournament since its launch 10 years ago.

When veteran Francois Steyn, making his first start at flyhalf since 2008, slotted a penalty from his own half just before half-time South Africa led 17-0 before a sell-out 45 982 crowd.

But the Pumas hit back almost immediately with scrumhalf Gonzalo Bertranou scoring and wing Emiliano Boffelli converted to cut the deficit to 17-7 at half-time.


As they did last weekend when losing 20-36 at home to South Africa, Argentina were a much-improved team from the restart and flank Juan Martin Gonzalez scored a try, which Boffelli converted.

It was no longer a question of whether the Springboks could overtake the All Blacks, but whether they could weather the Argentine storm and win the match.

They succeeded thanks to two penalty tries as Australian referee Damon Murphy repeatedly flashed his yellow card – sending four Argentines and two South Africans to the sin bin.

A try by recalled centre Matias Moroni which Boffelli converted left South Africa leading only 24-21 with 11 minutes remaining.


But the second penalty try gave the home side breathing space and replacement back Kurt-Lee Arendse crossed the line in added time and the final whistle sounded after Steyn converted.

Steyn, a Rugby World Cup winner in 2007 and 2019, gave a flawless goal-kicking performance, slotting three conversions and a penalty from his four shots at the posts.

No.8 Jasper Wiese, who gave an outstanding performance, and captain and flank Siya Kolisi scored tries for South Africa in the opening half.

Next up for the Springboks is a challenging November tour of Europe in which they will face Ireland, France, Italy and England on consecutive Saturdays.

Final RC standings

Man of the match: Juan Cruz Mallia has a couple of nice runs with the ball which kept the Boks on their toes. Juan Martin Gonzalez continues his growth in the national setup with another string performance with ball in hand. He also scored a sensational try in the second half. For the Springboks, Duane Vermeulen brought some physicality in the second half and he got his team over the gain line on a few occasions. However, the award goes to the man he replaced in the second half. Jasper Wiese was by far the best player on the field. He was the home side’s best carrier on the field and he was rock solid on defence. He beat five defenders, won a turnover and he scored a try.

The scorers:

For South Africa:
Tries: Wiese, Kolisi, Penalty Try (2), Arendse
Cons: Steyn 3
Pen: Steyn

For Argentina:
Tries: Bertranou, Gonzalez, Moroni
Cons: Boffelli 3

Yellow cards: Marcos Kremer (Argentina, 16′ – repeated infringements); Juan Martin Gonzalez (Argentina, 27′ – cynical, side entry at the maul); Jeronimo De La Fuente (Argentina, 56′ – cynical play, collapsing the maul); Eben Etzebeth (South Africa, 60′ – dangerous play, pushing a player into a teammate); Francois de Klerk (South Africa, 65′ – cynical play, collapsing the maul); Joel Sclavi (Argentina, 73′ – cynical play, collapsing the maul).


South Africa: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Canan Moodie, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Francois Steyn, 9 Jaden Hendrikse, 8 Jasper Wiese, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Siyamthanda Kolisi (captain), 5 Lodewyk de Jager, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Steven Kitshoff.
Replacements: 16 Mbongeni Mbonambi, 17 Retshegofaditswe Nche, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 Franco Mostert, 20 Duane Vermeulen, 21 Albertus Smith, 22 Francois de Klerk, 23 Kurt-Lee Arendse.

Argentina: 15 Juan Cruz Mallia, 14 Emiliano Boffelli, 13 Matias Moroni, 12 Jeronimo De La Fuente, 11 Juan Imhoff, 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.
Replacements: 16 Agustin Creevy, 17 Mayco Vivas, 18 Joel Sclavi, 19 Guido Petti, 20 Pedro Rubiolo, 21 Tomas Cubelli, 22 Benjamin Urdapilleta, 23 Bautista Delguy.

Referee: Damon Murphy (Australia)
Assistant referees: Frank Murphy (Ireland), Andrea Piardi (Italy)
TMO: Chris Hart (New Zealand)

*Additional reporting by AFP

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