Argentina has made amends for last week by securing a first-ever home win over South Africa on Saturday in Salta in the Rugby Championship. Los Pumas edged the Springboks 26-24 after leading 23-13 going into the final quarter. A week earlier, the Argentines fell 30-23 to the South Africans despite holding a 10-point lead going into the final nine minutes at the Mbombela Stadium.
Allister Coetzee’s squad are now counting their losses after wing Ruan Combrinck was ruled out of action for up to six week after he sustained a fractured fibula. Combrinck was replaced seven minutes before half-time by Jesse Kriel after the wing had injured his leg and he was taken to a nearby hospital immediately afterwards for x-rays. He was one of two players who had to leave the field on Saturday because of injuries suffered in the second Rugby Championship Test against the Pumas.
Flyhalf Elton Jantjies will undergo a scan to determine the extent of the groin injury which forced him off the field soon after the start of the second half. He was replaced by Morné Steyn in the 46th minute. Both sides scored two tries each and the Pumas led 13-3 at half-time. With just minutes left on the clock, replacement lock Pieter-Steph Du Toit forced his way over from close range.
Replacement flyhalf Morne Steyn then succeeded with a penalty to give the Boks a 24-23 lead, but substitute Santiago Gonzales clinched he game for the Pumas with a last gasp penalty. According to Bok boss Coetzee, the Pumas deserved their win because they used their opportunities to score points much better than the Springboks.
Coetzee says: ‘I want to congratulate Argentina for their win tonight in Salta. As a team, we made some crucial mistakes and they made better use of their opportunities than we did. Although we lost Ruan and Elton because of injuries, we managed to come back in the second half. However, I am disappointed by the many individual mistakes that we committed. We had enough opportunities to create scoreboard pressure, but we did not take them. At Test level, you must take your opportunities or you will get punished. We missed some penalties and also didn’t score tries when we were in a position to do so. Credit to Argentina because they really worked for their victory. The defeat is hurting and the Springboks will never be satisfied with a loss. We will regroup and work hard to improve as a team so that we can be ready for the next Test against Australia in Brisbane.’
The Springboks arrive back in the country on Monday morning. The squad for the Australian leg of the campaign will be announced on Tuesday, and the Bok squad travels to Brisbane on Thursday. The Boks play the Wallabies on 10 September and then the All Blacks a week later in Christchurch.
Meanwhile Sanzaar confirmed that, after the match, Springbok flank Teboho Mohoje was issued with a Citing Commissioner Warning for a dangerous tackle. A Citing Commissioner Warning will count as a yellow card on the players’ record for the tournament.
Photo credits: UAR/Rodrigo Vergara