Boks too strong for Pumas
No dream start for Argentina on Championship debut
Last Updated: 18/08/12 7:03pm
Bryan Habana: Scored the Boks' third try
Argentina started life in the Rugby Championship with a 27-6 defeat against South Africa in Cape Town on Saturday.
The Springboks scored three tries at Newlands, with Zane Kirchner, Marcell Coetzee and Bryan Habana all crossing, while Morne Steyn added 12 points with the boot.
Argentina could only reply with two penalties but can take some encouragement to holding the Boks to a single try in the second half after trailing 20-6 at the break.
Defeat for the Boks would have spelt a drop to sixth place in the IRB rankings but it was clear from early on that was never going to happen.
Heyneke Meyer's side took their opportunities when they were presented but the perfect conditions did not encourage either side to play adventurous rugby.
The Pumas' game-plan was to give the Springboks a taste of their own medicine as Juan Martín Hernández sent up series of bombs.
But his kicks were not quite accurate enough and the chase lacked fire, which meant that the home side's back three were seldom seriously troubled.
It took just five minutes for Steyn to get the Boks on the board with a penalty but the opening score coincided with a massive blow for the hosts, when Bismarck du Plessis had to leave the field with a knee injury.
Hernández levelled the scores on the 15-minute mark but when Lucas Amorosino spilt an easy pass just in front of his own try-line, the Pumas looked in trouble.
True enough, three phases after the scrum Kirchner was over in the corner. Steyn added the extras to give the Boks a 10-3 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Steyn added another penalty before Coetzee broke off the back of a rolling maul to extend the hosts' lead, and Steyn converted to make it 20-3 after half-an-hour.
Hernández landed a penalty just before half time and missed two more after the break.
But it was the Boks who had the final say when Habana plucked Steyn's cross-field kick out of the sky - and Horacio Agulla's hands - for an easy finish.