Tuesday 21 January 2020

Pumas record historic victory over Springboks

Argentina's Los Pumas rugby players celebrate after defeating South Africa by 26-24. Photo: Getty
Argentina's Los Pumas rugby players celebrate after defeating South Africa by 26-24. Photo: Getty

Nigel Whittaker

Replacement out-half Santiago Gonzalez Iglesias kicked a penalty two minutes from time to give Argentina a 26-24 Rugby Championship victory over South Africa in Salta on Saturday.

It was the first home triumph for the Pumas over the Springboks after a draw and 10 defeats since they first met in South America 23 years ago.

The lead changed several times before Iglesias - the third-choice goal-kicker after fly-half Nicolas Sanchez and centre Juan Martin Hernandez retired injured - slotted the match-deciding kick.

The hosts were temporarily reduced to 14 men when tighthead prop Ramiro Herrera made a late, no-arms tackle on flanker Francois Louw and was sin-binned.


Elton Jantjies eventually opened the scoring on 21 minutes with a penalty, amid sustained whistling from the partisan crowd.

However, the lead lasted just two minutes as Sanchez scored off his first penalty at Estadio Padre Ernesto Martearena.

Centre Matias Orlando was bundled into touch just short of the try line and a home side making light of being a man down went ahead when Sanchez kicked another penalty.

Herrera returned and almost immediately Argentina scored a brilliant try through Joaquin Tuculet. Sanchez converted to maintain his perfect goal-kicking record before Jantjies missed a penalty, leaving Argentina 13-3 ahead at the half-time whistle.

However, it took the Springboks just six minutes of the second-half to draw level. Jantjies slotted a penalty and a clever backward off-load from Louw sent Bryan Habana racing clear to dot down and full-back Johan Goosen converted.

Sanchez was injured in the build-up to the try and left the field to be replaced by Iglesias.

Argentina quickly regained the initiative with flanker Juan Manuel Lequizamon scoring a try in the corner after out-jumping Habana to a cross-kick from Hernandez.

In the absence of Sanchez, Hernandez took over the goal-kicking duties and followed up a successful conversion with a penalty to restore the 10-point advantage.

Steyn penalties either side of a try from replacement lock Pieter-Steph du Toit nudged the Springboks to a 24-23 lead before Iglesias struck.

Meanwhile, Israel Dagg scored two first-half tries as New Zealand made it back-to-back wins (29-9) over Australia.

Dagg's brace left the Kiwis in control at the break in Wellington before tries from Julian Savea and Sam Cane put them out of sight.

Beauden Barrett booted nine points, while Australia could only respond through two Bernard Foley penalties and one huge kick from debutant Reece Hodge.

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