South African Rugby

Sunday, November 06, 2005

South africa beat Argentina 34-23

South Africa outmuscled Argentina in a bollocks match to win 34-23 in Buenos Aires on Saturday. The teams scored three tries each, but the boot of Percy Montgomery sealed the win thank god ,not one of the best matches we have played but saying that wales was taken out by the kiwis 43-3 .The welsh seemed to freeze against the carter factor.If Wales plays a conservative style game against us ,that will be one of the games we should walk.

Bits of paper came floating down onto the field on a sunny afternoon in Buenos Aires. The field was littered with bits of paper and bits and pieces of play in a disjointed match that lacked flow where the focus was on whatever forwards thought they did best.

It became the big maul. I maul, then you maul, then I maul, then you maul.

South Africa lost five line-outs though they have the 'best locks in the world'. The Pumas also lost five.

There was lots and lots of kicking, much of it aimless. Passing the ball was not really an option for the Pumas.

Because South Africa kicked out and badly - three times on the full in the first half - they made good opportunity for Puma mauls.

Watched by Diego Maradonna and the great, first Pumas of 1965, Felipe Contepomi kicked off. He also kicked the first penalty and made two tries in the half was he snorting that is the question.

His first penalty, against John Smit, opened the scoring. Then André Pretorius kicked a penalty from on the half-way line when Ignacio Fernández Lobbe infringed at a maul, and then Percy Montgomery kicked a penalty when Ignacio Fernández Lobbe infringed at a maul, and the score was 6-3 to South Africa. Perhaps they were getting back into the game.

But scrum-half Bolla Conradie took the ball back into his 22 from where he kicked out on the full, thus creating a Puma line-out inside the Springbok 22, encouraging the cohesive locals to maul till flank Agustín Durand broke away, cut inside Bakkies Botha and then, as Conradie brought him to ground, stretched out a long arm to score. 8-6 to Argentina.

Under pressure Pretorius kicked out but hurt his right ankle in doing so. He was helped off and Brent Russell came on in his place. This was only in the 22nd minute.

The Springboks attacked on their left, but Victor Matfield who had an anaemic first half, was penalised. The Pumas tapped and suddenly they were speeding away. Felipe Contepomi raced off and then kicked a long grubber to his left. The ball stopped gently just over the Springbok line near the corner, and tall wing Francisco Leonelli flopped gratefully on it. That made it 13-6 after 24 minutes.

Montgomery kicked another penalty and then the Springboks got a try from a line-out on their left. Os du Randt had a charge, Juan Smith had a run and got a clever pass to his right and found Brett Russell who sent Montgomery running around behind the posts. After 33 minutes the Springboks led 16-13. But the Pumas were not to be outdone.

They mauled from a scrum and just when they seemed to have been thwarted the ball came back to Felipe Contepomi who cut straight forward and found his twin brother who skipped over with much glee for a try which Felipe converted.

That brought the half-time break and the Pumas led 20-16. Was this to be the famous victory of 40 years ago all over? Puma hearts swelled with hopeful pride.

At the break Schalk Burger came on for Solly Tyibilika. Obviously he made a difference with his skill, energy and anticipation.

The Springboks took a lead that was not assailed. From a line-out, Jacques Cronjé charged. The ball came back quickly and Conradie darted ahead. Drawing the fullback he gave to Fourie, who trotted over for the try at the posts. 23-20.

That became 23-20 soon afterwards when Montgomery goaled a penalty.

There was an unpleasant moment just after this. Jean de Villiers forced Lucas Borges into touch and wanted the ball. Borges held onto it. De Villiers again tried to pry it from his grasp. Borges held on and De Villiers shoved him. Borges staggered back over the hoarding and into the soccer moat which was masked by the hoarding. This produced unhappy emotion, especially from the cantankerous Mario Ledesma. The end result was a yellow card for De Villiers and a penalty for the Pumas.

Manuel Contepomi reduced the Springbok lead when he goaled a penalty, but the Springboks were soon battering at the Puma line after fullback Juan Martín Hernández dropped an up-and-under. Burger was just about at the line but the Puma defence held. The referee was playing advantage when Conradie popped a dropped goal over the crossbar. The Springboks led 29-23 and De Villiers came back from his temporary exile.

After several substitutions the Springboks battered ahead with pick and drive. Burger and Albert van den Berg, on for Bakkies Botha, drove well and then Juan Smith picked up and forced his way over in the corner. 34-23.

There were still nine minutes to play but the game petered out with more unpleasant emotion. A good effort from the Argentines but South Africa had the know-how.

Both sides now head for Europe, and both sides know they have to up their game.

Man of the Match: It really is hard to find one. The outstanding player was Schalk Burger, but he played for only half the match. Felipe Contepomi did some wonderful things, creating two tries, but while he, a fly-half, played he just did not let play flow. Our man-of-the-match is tall Juan Smith, who was the best in the line-outs, who tackled and who handled and ran well, creating a try and scoring another.

Villain of the match: One would like to say the over-emotional Mario Ledesma, but really it was Jean de Villiers with his yellow card even though what happened was certainly worse than he had intended.

Moment of the Match: The disappearance of Lucas Borges into the moat with De Villiers and others trying to help him out.

The scorers:

For Argentina:
Tries: Durand, Leonelli, M Contepomi
Con: F Contepomi
Pens: F Contepomi 2

For South Africa:
Tries: Montgomery, Fourie, Smith
Cons: Montgomery 2
Pens: Pretorius, Montgomery 3
DG: Conradie

Yellow card: Jean de Villiers (South Africa, 47)

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