Marx brace fires Boks past Los Pumas
REPORT: South Africa stormed to second of the Rugby Championship table with a five-try bonus point 36-20 victory over dogged Argentina in Buenos Aires on Saturday.
*To recap all the action CLICK HERE!!!
Tries from scrumhalf Jaden Hendrikse, centre Damian De Allende, a brace from hooker Malcolm Marx and a penalty try proved enough to take the Boks above New Zealand on head-to-head record with one round of matches left.
Argentina, remain five points back alongside Australia and still with a theoretical chance of winning the tournament.
But they paid for a high penalty count, numerous handling errors and poor discipline that saw halfbacks Santiago Carreras and Gonzalo Bertranou sin-binned in the first half.
South Africa also had two players yellow carded but a strong first 40 and a powerful finish proved enough.
It had been a difficult build-up for the Springboks with South African Rugby releasing a statement hours before kick-off in Buenos Aires denouncing “distracting and destabilising” media reports.
A South African website had claimed a Sunday newspaper would be publishing an “explosive report” into drug taking by Springbok players, which SA Rugby denied.
This came hot on the heels of flyhalf Elton Jantjies and a team dietician being sent home from Argentina after a newspaper reported they were having an affair.
Penalties hurting Argentina
The ugly headlines had no adverse effect on the pitch, though, as South Africa dominated the first period.
The unflappable Emiliano Boffelli knocked over the first penalty of the game for Argentina on nine minutes but moments later Damian Willemse replied for the visitors.
Both kickers then missed their second efforts from close to the halfway line, but after that it was one-way traffic.
The first try came on 22 minutes as South Africa created space down the right for wing Canan Moodie.
Although Carreras stopped him with a try-saving tackle, the Argentine flyhalf then jumped up from an offside position to put in another crucial block to hold up Hendrikse over the line.
New Zealander referee James Doleman had no option but to award, a penalty try and send Carreras to the sinbin.
A second Boffelli penalty kept the Pumas in touch but the Springboks soon made the extra man count as Hendrikse sold a dummy before strolling in under the posts, Willemse kicking the extras.
Argentina’s high penalty count was gifting South Africa good field position and ramping up the pressure on the 14 men.
From a driving maul, Marx was powered over by his pack, although Willemse missed the extras.
Disjointed Argentina botched their own five-metre line-out but it was in defence that they faced their main problems.
Scrumhalf Bertranou was yellow carded and Lood de Jager bulldozed over for what would have been a fourth South Africa try, only for Doleman to rule there was a knock-on in the build-up as the Boks led 22-6 at half-time.
Argentina came out fired up in the second half.
The tide appeared to be turning in their favour when Willie le Roux was sent to the bin after a string of South African infringements.
And so it proved as Argentina were awarded a penalty try when Kwagga Smith, who was also shown a yellow card, tackled Tomas Cubelli around the neck as he stretched for the line.
Almost immediately, Matias Moroni made a stunning break though the heart of the Springbok defence to dot down under the posts and Boffelli’s conversion made it a two-point game, with South Africa still down to 14 men.
But De Allende powered through two tackles to score from close range and Marx benefitted from tired tackling to score in the corner as South Africa extinguished Argentine hopes.
Man of the match: It was a game of two halves with Boks dominating the first and Los Pumas the second. However, throughout the match, one man stood out from the rest and that was Malcolm Marx – therefore he is our man of the match. The Springbok scored a brace of tries, made a couple of strong carries and was a beast at the breakdown.
Try: Penalty try, Moroni
Pens: Boffelli 2
For South Africa:
Tries: Penalty try, Hendrikse, Marx 2, De Allende
Cons: Willemse, Steyn
Yellow cards: Santiago Carreras (Argentina, 20 – Offside), Gonzalo Bertranou (Argentina, 40 – offside and repeat infringements), Willie Le Roux (South Africa, 59 – offside and repeat infringements), Albertus Smith (South Africa, 65 – dangerous tackle, neck roll)
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.
Replacements: 16 Agustin Creevy, 17 Thomas Gallo, 18 Joel Sclavi, 19 Guido Petti, 20 Rodrigo Bruni, 21 Tomas Cubelli, 22 Benjamin Urdapilleta, 23 Matias Moroni.
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.
Replacements: 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.
Referee: James Doleman (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Damon Murphy (Australia), Craig Evans (Wales)
TMO: Chris Hart (New Zealand)