JOHANNESBURG - South Africa kicked off their Castle Rugby Championship campaign with a solid, workmanlike 27-6 victory over newcomers Argentina at Newlands in Cape Town on Saturday.
But while the Springboks eventually cruised to victory with some ease, and gave Los Pumas an inhospitable welcome into the southern hemisphere competition, they failed to get a bonus point, which could be crucial as the competition runs its course. In a game that was rather one-sided and where there was never a thought of an upset, the Boks turned down the kick at goal almost a dozen times, but a lack of variety in the attack and some poor execution at the lineout robbed them of a fourth try that would have been expected of the level of dominance they had in the game.
It was precisely this point that will have Bok supporters concerned. While Heyneke Meyer still needs to mould his attacking platform, there will seldom be times in test rugby when an international side is presented as many opportunities close to the line, and fails to take them.
If that seems a bit harsh, a simple question whether Rugby Championship rivals New Zealand and Australia would have wasted so many opportunities in the same area might answer that, and while the win was non-negotiable, the Boks wasted a chance to put the Pumas away in a style that would have sounded a warning to their tournament rivals.
However, as the coaches will tell you, a win is a win, but after a solid first half, a solitary try in the second was hardly the reward that Meyer and his coaching staff would have been looking for. Still, in terms of the bigger picture, it allows the Boks to build some momentum before a tougher fixture next week against the same opposition in Mendoza.
To be fair, they weren’t tested in the same manner as the All Blacks will test them, but they were more than solid, and tackled aggressively in the process. – SuperSport.com
Meanwhile, New Zealand landed an early blow in the battle for the inaugural Rugby Championship when they defeated Australia by 27-19 also on Saturday to maintain their iron grip on the Bledisloe Cup.