Sport

Springboks celebrate winning Rugby Championship for first time after dismantling Pumas

Springboks celebrate winning Rugby Championship for first time after dismantling Pumas”

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The Boks survived an early scare from Argentina to deliver a near-perfect performance that saw them clinch a convincing 46-13 victory to grab their fourth southern hemisphere title, and their first in the competition's current incarnation.

Fly-half Pollard notched two tries and kicked three conversions and five penalties in a bonus-point victory for South Africa, who led 24-13 at half-time.

The competition has been shortened to one round of matches due to the Rugby World Cup in Japan which starts on September 20.

Rassie Erasmus' men turned the screw after the break, with Pollard going on to score a second try and take his tally for the match to 31 - equalling Morne Steyn's record for most individual points in a game.

"I think for us the most important thing was to work on our consistency", captain Duane Vermeulen said after the win in Salta.

"We started the Rugby Championship working on executing our plans, and in a way we are happy with our performance but there are still a few things to work on".

There were also tries for hooker Bongi Mbonambi and wings Makazole Mapimpi and Cheslin Kolbe after Santiago Cordero had scored the only try for the Pumas in the second minute.

Consistency remains key for improving South Africa as they revel in a first Rugby Championship title in a decade, a significant psychological boost a little over a month out from the World Cup in Japan.

The opening half then became a goal-kicking battle between playmakers Pollard and Sanchez with the South Africa kicking three penalties and converting his try in the final minute of the half.

Nicolas Sanchez scored two penalties in what was a tight contest for much of the first half, but the ill-disciplined Pumas were scoreless after the break and finished bottom of the table without a win to their name.

Argentina have struggled for some years in an aspect of the game where they used to be world class and there was no sign of any improvement in Salta.

The Springboks' progress slowed early in the second half when scrumhalf Faf de Klerk was sin-binned, only for Pollard to cross again.

He added his fifth penalty of the match within a minute of the restart, yet Argentina were able to rally and mount a spell of pressure which led to South Africa scrum-half de Klerk being shown a yellow card following a string of penalties against the visitors close to their own line.



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