Pumas denied historic victory
ARGENTINA stood on the brink of a remarkable first victory over South Africa in their second Rugby Championship match on Saturday before the Springboks rallied to snatch a 16-16 draw at Estadio Malvinas Argentinas.
The match had looked like ending in a perfect home debut for the Pumas, famously tough opponents on Argentinian soil long before their entry into their first annual major tournament.
Argentina dominated a first half in which the Springboks, who had beaten them 27-6 at home last weekend, were given little chance to display their running strengths. South Africa coach Heyneke Meyer said his side struggled with Argentina's more northern hemisphere style of play.
"Technically we weren't good enough at the breakdown," he said. "We can play much better. These players are more used to Super 15 rugby. The Pumas play a European game."
Springboks captain and former Munster centre Jean de Villiers said: "It was a very frustrating game for the outside backs, we didn't get too much ball."
Argentina made a marked improvement on their tournament debut in Cape Town and captain Juan Fernandez Lobbe was pleased with his side's display.
"We talked all week about improving how we got out of our half and for a big part of the match we did that well," he said.
The Pumas ran up a 13-3 half-time lead after an early try by centre Santiago Fernandez. Full-back Martin Rodriguez converted that score and finished with a tally of 11 points, including three penalties.
Argentina, though, were left to rue the kick out of defence by Fernandez that was charged down by his opposite number Frans Steyn, who chased the ball and scored the Springboks' try 15 minutes from time. The error would have cost Argentina more dearly had Steyn slotted over a late penalty from out on the right wing.
Meanwhile, Dan Carter ensured New Zealand converted their territorial domination into points as the All Blacks beat Australia 22-0 in their Rugby Championship clash at Eden Park on Saturday.
Out-half Carter kicked five penalties and converted Israel Dagg's try to score 17 points for the All Blacks, whose victory ensured they retained the Bledisloe Cup for the 10th successive season and piled the pressure on Wallabies coach Robbie Deans.