Saturday, August 25, 2012

Argentina 16-16 South Africa

In professional sport seven days is a long time and Argentina certainly proved it today as Los Pumas stuck to their guns and produced a controlled display of rugby that South Africa struggled to combat. Last weekend Argentina had little to offer but today the teams attack through the midfield with backs ever present to recieve passes from forwards was highly effective. 

The game plan against South Africa worked and was, in some ways, similar to how Sonny Bill Williams in particular exploited the Wallabies earlier today. Argentina played an organized style of rugby that worked well even without Juan Martín Hernández. His replacement, Nicolás Sánchez played well at flyhalf but had to be replaced in the secondhalf following an injury. It remains to be seen whether or not he will recover in time for the match against New Zealand in Wellington but the injury did appear to look serious as he was in tears on the sidelines. 

The match was nothing less than history making. A case of bad luck in the largest degree cost Argentina victory in Mendoza against the Springboks. With the South Americans leading 16-9 a kick from Marcelo Bosch was charged down by Frans Steyn with the same player collecting the rebound to score a try, South Africa´s only try. It secured a 16 all draw in a match that the home side were vastly better than the visitors for the majority of play.

After the try Bosch was upset and at the end of the match he was extremely emotional. But such is test rugby that no players dared blame him. It was an incident was simply bad luck in the worst degree. As a player Bosch has been through more hard luck than virtually anybody. He has had two career damaging injuries requiring should and knee reconstruction. Nevertheless he is playing for Argentina in his country and had an othewise good performance. 

South Africa had the first chance with a long range penalty attempt from Frans Steyn but it was slightly off target. It was a long attempt from inside the South African half and he would have a second opportunity in the match which would similarly not find the mark. Martín Rodríguez Gurruchaga playing fullback opened the scoring. He ahd a good game in place of Lucas González Amorosino and was reliable. His penalty in the eleventh minute made it 3-0 to Argentina.

Six minutes latter it was 10-0 as Argentina attacked well up midfield with Eusebio Guiñazú making good yards and keeping the ball in play. Several phrases latter Juan Figallo took a two man tackle and handed the ball to Santiago Fernández who wento under the posts for a try. Rodríguez Gurruchaga added the simple conversion. Morné Steyn made it 10-3 in the 33rd minute with a penalty before Rodríguez Gurruchaga ended the scoring in the first half with his second penalty. At the interval Argentina led 13-3. 

In the secondhalf Morné Steyn scored first with a penalty in the 49th minute. Three minutes later Rodríguez Gurruchaga cancelled it out with a penalty of his own but it would be the onlf Argentine points in the secondhalf. The South Americans controlled play for the first twenty-five minutes of the secondhalf before the unthinkable happened as South Africa were able to equalize the scores with a try to Frans Steyn from an opportunistic chargedown. Only one minute earlier Argentina had almost but the result beyond doubt as Santiago Fernández kicked a dropgoal that missed the mark. Had it gone over Argentina would have won. 

No longer can South Africa say they have a flawless record against South Africa. This match will   likely be remembered for a moment of badluck. The tournament now pauses with all four teams have next weekend off. In effect Australia and New Zealand have an extra day to prepare because of the travel time for Argentina and South Africa. New Zealand will host Argentina in Wellington while Australia will host South Africa in Perth. The travel time from west Mendoza to Perth is especially tough and South Africa will then have to fly east to play New Zealand in Dunedin. 

New Zealand 10
South Africa 6
Argentina 2
Australia 0


  1. the match turned out EXACTLY as i scripted before the game...even the bloody nose right off the whistle....the try came right through the middle of their defence with forward play and scored by a center....halfbacks were kept on their back heels and busy for most of the game by an enterprising forward pack.... consistently.... outplaying the boks at the bok backs did not even sniff the ball....

    "the formula for the pumas to beat the boks is actually simple - and brutal: if i were phelan i would bring the fight to the forwards with good teamwork and bio-mechanics....bloody them up front....throw them back....treat them like a playground bully....stun them.... a bloody nose right off the whistle....let them know its going to be a long sticky in your face rugby....look to jam them....most of all....PUT PRESSURE ON THE HALFBACKS !!!!....

    if we are not putting pressure with our forwards on their halfbacks for 60 are not goint to find room in their defense to unleash imhoff and amorosino....end of story....our pack simply has to be better than theirs and it needs to throw them back on their heels.... and i dont care how big they are.... consistently...."

    Now the All Blacks....a completly different animal....

  2. This match will be testimony to the rest of the Southern Hemisphere rugby powerhouse that travelling to Argentina will be a much different proposition altogether. Therefore no one can take Los Pumas lightly on their own turf. Wish we could have one match either in the Monumental or Bombonera in Buenos Aires. Bet the crowd will go mental and silenced the Haka.

  3. the situation in buenos aires is not good my friend....we have a constitutional crisis at the moment with a presidenta who does not want to leave....the pumas are kinda like the counter culture to the them not playing in buenos aires is actually a good choice at the moment....