South Africa blow away Argentina with nine-try 73-13 victory

Springboks romp home to staggering win to get their Rugby Championship campaign off to a winning start

South Africa scored nine tries to emphatically open its Rugby Championship with a 73-13 win over Argentina on Saturday, avenging a surprise 16-16 draw between the teams in their last meeting a year ago with the biggest win in the southern hemisphere competition.

The Springboks took control at FNB Stadium in Soweto from a 30th-minute penalty try, and crossed seven times in the second half to keep Argentina winless in seven games in this competition.

South Africa also moved powerfully to a seventh straight test win under coach Heyneke Meyer, with flyhalf Morne Steyn kicking 28 points and landing 12 out of 13 attempts.

South Africa surpassed its points tally in a 61-22 win over Australia in Pretoria in 1997 and also the competition's previous best 45-point margin it beat Australia by at Johannesburg in 2008.

The Boks had eight different try-scorers Saturday after the penalty try and kept a meek Argentina scoreless from the 23rd minute until their only try through Felipe Contepomi in the last minute. Captain Contepomi had all Argentina's points with a try, conversion and two penalties, but the South Americans were left completely dispirited after coming close to a maiden win in the championship in their debut season in 2012 and then going down by 60 points in their 2013 opener.

At 9-6, the Springboks forged ahead with their penalty try after half an hour, a telling double blow for the Argentinians as they also lost hooker Eusebio Guinazu for knocking down a pass that would have put Ruan Pienaar clear in the left corner.

Center JJ Engelbrecht collected a kick through three minutes later and ran 50 meters for the second try, a breakout from near the Springboks' line set up by flyhalf Steyn, who recovered possession and passed to fullback Willie le Roux to chip ahead. Steyn kicked a fourth penalty to go with his two conversions for a 26-6 halftime lead for No. 2-ranked South Africa.

The Boks blew the Pumas away in the second 40.

Hooker Adriaan Strauss' try from a rumbling maul in the 47th made it 33-6 with another Steyn conversion and effectively ended what was left of any contest.

Flanker Willem Alberts secured the four-try bonus point as early as the 54th as the Boks repeated the lineout and mauling move that put Strauss over. A minute later, skipper Jean de Villiers burst clear for the fifth as Argentina began to fade away badly.

Returning World Cup-winning scrumhalf Fourie du Preez bolted over for the sixth try minutes after returning to international rugby as a replacement following a two-year absence.

Wing Bryan Habana, No. 8 Duane Vermeulen and replacement hooker Bismarck du Plessis also crashed over before Contepomi ended a Pumas breakout with his try in the last act of the game.

 

Scores:

South Africa 73: JJ Engelbrecht, Adriaan Strauss, Willem Alberts, Jean de Villiers, Fourie du Preez, Bryan Habana, Duane Vermeulen, Bismarck du Plessis, penalty tries;

Morne Steyn 8 conversions, 4 penalties

Argentina 13: Felipe Contepomi try, conversion, 2 penalties.

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