South Africa secured third place at the Rugby World Cup on Friday at the Olympic Stadium in London thanks to a 24-13 win over Argentina. The result sees the Springboks walk away with the bronze medal and third-place at the World Cup for the second time after also achieving this feat in 1999. As for Los Pumas, fourth place is their lot on this occasion.
Early in the first half Tomas Cubelli was shown a yellow card in the fourth minute, tipping the odds in favour of the Springboks. JP Pieterson capitalised on this by stretching the ball over the try line, with Handre Pollard converting for a 7-0 lead. The Argentines began cracking under the pressure, causing unorganised play, and allowing Pollard another penalty in the 13th minute. However, the Boks also began to falter in their organisation, kicking away possession unnecessarily, as well as rushing the defence and leaving gaps.
Despite this, Pollard converted another penalty, closing the first half at 16-0. The second stanza saw a general deteriorating in play. Nicolas Sanchez booting a drop goal in the first minute and just a minute later Eben Etzebeth sliding across for a try but it was a false presentation of pace and intensity from both sides at the start of the second 40. Pollard’s penalty in the 47th minute, as well as a Sanchez three-pointer in the 52nd minute, brought the score to 24-6.
There was a sad moment in the 62nd minute as Victor Matfield left the field for the last time in his career in the green and gold. Schalk Burger was afforded a similar send-off and one wonders if Bryan Habana was also bidding adieu for the last time in a SA jersey. The last 10 minutes saw Daniel Hourcade’s men fighting for everything culminating in a try and conversion as the match ended 24- 13 as Heyneke Meyer’s men also secured third spot in the World Rugby rankings on Monday morning.
Photo credit: Rodrigo Vergara/UAR