The Springboks had to work hard before securing a 36-20 triumph over a spirited Argentinian side in their Rugby League Test in Buenos Aires on Saturday.
Despite a dominant first-half performance, the Boks crumbled after half-time and saw Pumas back in the game before late tries from Damian de Allende and Malcolm Marx secured the result and an important bonus points.
Marx scored another try for the visitors in the first half and their other points came via a five from Jaden Hendrikse, a conversion and penalty from Damian Willemse, two conversions from Frans Steyn as well as a penalty try.
For ArgentinaMatias Moroni crossed the blank and they also got a penalty try, while Emiliano Boffelli netted a few penalties and a conversion.
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The opening exchanges were cautious, with the teams feeling each other out before Argentina took an early lead through a long-range penalty from Boffelli in the ninth minute.
The Books quickly camped in the Pumas half and equalized two minutes later through a Willemse penalty, after the home side breached the defence.
The visitors were slowly gaining the upper hand and midway through the half Pumas were on the back foot as they set up several phases inside their 22. The ball was moved wide to Canan Moodie, who was stopped just before the try line before Hendrikse. rallied and went over the top but failed to put the ball on the ground after a desperate tackle from Santiago Carreras.
However, after checking the TV replays, referee James Doleman ruled Carreras tackled Hendrikse from an offside position and awarded the Boks a penalty try, while the Pumas fly-half was also sent off. in the trash for his indiscretion.
South Africa made full use of their power play and, despite another penalty from Boffelli, scored two quick tries as Carreras came on the sidelines. First, Hendrikse slipped through a gaping hole deep inside Argentine territory after Marx did well in the build with a powerful carry. And on the half hour mark, the Bok hooker put his name on the scoreboard when he slotted into the back of a line-up inside Argentina’s 22.
Just before half-time, the hosts were reduced to 14 men again when Gonzalo Bertranou was shown a yellow card for repeated infringements by his team when he was caught offside in defence.
South Africa put the resulting penalty into touch near Argentina’s try line but, although Lood de Jager went over the white, his effort was called off as Franco Mostert had struck in the preparation. Despite this, South Africa were on top when they entered the hangars at half-time holding a deserved 22-6 lead.
Pumas came out shooting after the break but, despite an improved performance, they were still committing too many unforced errors. However, the Boks were also guilty of this, particularly in defence, and in the 60th minute Willie le Roux was shown a yellow card when he was taken offside deep in his 22.
Pumas spent most of the next 10 minutes camped out in the Boks half and they too were rewarded with a penalty try after Kwagga Smith prevented Tomas Cubelli from scoring with a high tackle. Smith also received his marching orders for his attack, meaning South Africa played with 13 men for a brief period. And meanwhile, Moroni crossed for his second try after some great work from Marcos Kremer in the build-up.
Boffelli added the extras which meant South Africa held a narrow 22-20 lead, but they kept their composure when De Allende made two tackles before scoring his fourth try in the 75th minute. They still needed another five points to clinch the bonus point and it came in the dying moments when Marx collected an inside pass from Makazole Mapimpi before crashing into the left corner.
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