Rugby Championship: South Africa fire nine tries past Argentina
Last Updated: 18/08/13 6:22pm
South Africa began their Rugby Championship campaign in commanding fashion with nine tries in a 73-13 victory over Argentina in Soweto on Saturday.
On a the day of national celebration in South Africa - a tribute to Nelson Mandela - the Springboks raced to a 60-point victory courtesy of tries from JJ Engelbrecht, Adriaan Strauss, Willem Alberts, Jean de Villiers, Fourie du Preez, Bryan Habana, Duane Vermeulen and Bismarck Du Plessis in the Soccer City Stadium.
Argentina mustered some fight in the first half but their attempts to remain in contention went unrewarded as referee Chris Pollock awarded a penalty try, before outside centre Englebrecht stormed through the visitors' defence to give the Springboks a 20-point lead at the half-way stage.
The second period saw the hosts race through the gears as they scored seven more tries to condemn Argentina to a seventh straight Rugby Championship defeat.
Fly-half Steyn got the scoreboard ticking inside the opening 10 minutes with two penalties, the first just inside the Argentinian half and the other a 53-metre effort to give the Springboks a 6-0 lead.
Argentina veteran Felipe Contepomi - who announced earlier in the week that he will retire at the end of the tournament - replied for the visitors with a penalty midway through the opening period.
Springbok Steyn restored the six-point advantage from the tee as he maintained a perfect record, only for Contepomi to hit back moments later with a three-pointer of his own as the hosts were penalised for handling the ball in the ruck.
Heyneke Meyer's men continued to dominate possession in Argentinian territory but lacked the gusto required to cross the line. The Springboks were however awarded a penalty try when Eusebio Guinazu was shown a yellow card for deliberately knocking the ball away.
With Argentina down to 14 men the Springboks seized the advantage as Steyn kicked and Engelbrecht exposed gaps in the defence to chase down and score. Steyn added the subsequent extras from the tee before a fourth penalty gave the hosts a 26-6 lead at the interval.
South Africa continued to attack following the break and their aggressive start paid early dividends when Strauss broke off the back of a maul to charge over the line and register a third try for the hosts, before Steyn converted once again.
The visitors were once again reduced to 14 men when No. 8 Leonardo Senatore was sent to the sin bin for a 'dump' tackle on Engelbrecht and it was not long before the Springboks were over the line for a bonus-point try as flanker Alberts touched down to extend the lead to 32.
De Villiers was next to race over after neatly intercepting possession on the halfway line before Du Preez added try number six, as South Africa stretched their lead to 52-6 with 20 minutes left on the clock.
Winger Habana then touched down in the corner after some dazzling footwork from Du Preez to set up the try.
The cracks shown by the Springboks in the first half became a distant memory as a series of pin-point passes found Vermeulen for an eighth try before Du Plessis added a ninth shortly after his introduction from the bench.
Argentina found minor consolation as Contepomi crossed for their only try of the match on the siren, but their search for a first Rugby Championship victory will now go to the Estadio Malvinas on Saturday for a return fixture against the Springboks.