In the build-up to this evening’s Rugby World Cup third-place playoff, we look back at some of the most exciting clashes between Argentina and South Africa down the year’s.
Argentina 17-22 South Africa
2013 Rugby Championship – 24 August 2013
The 17th meeting of these two international sides saw Morne Steyn steal the points late on for the Springboks in Argentina.
This Rugby Championship clash came just seven days after the ‘Boks had ripped their hosts to shreds in Johannesburg, winning 73-13, but the Pumas were in markedly better form this time around.
Juan Martin Leguizamon scored within two minutes, Felipe Contepomi converting before Steyn cut the deficit with a penalty, but Contepomi struck again to pull his side seven points ahead.
South Africa drew level after 15 minutes, Steyn adding the extras from the left touchline after a Bjorn Basson try, but Argentina were back in front on 37 minutes when Marcelo Bosch dived over near the posts, Contemponi again successful with the boot, but Steyn narrowed the gap to four points in first-half stoppage time before making it a one-point ball game with 20 minutes to play, 17-16.
And Steyn ensured there would be no upset that day, kicking two further penalties to get the Boks’ out of jail.
South Africa 13-6 Argentina
2014 Rugby Championship – 16 August 2014
In challenging conditions in Pretoria, it was South Africa who edged home as Bok scrum-half Ruan Pienaar crossed for the only try of the game.
As the rain thundered down at Loftus Versfeld Stadium, Pienaar skipped over within two minutes but, as the conditions worsened further, errors and tight exchanges became more frequent.
Handre Pollard and Nicolas Sanchez traded first-half penalties to see the hosts take a 10-3 lead into half time.
A feisty and error-strewn second period followed, Sanchez adding another penalty before Morne Steyn scored the final points of the game with a penalty, which the Pumas couldn’t respond to.
Argentina 31-33 South Africa
2014 Rugby Championship – 23 August 2014
In North Argentina, this proved to be a case of so near yet so far for the hosts yet again as their 19-game wait for a win over South Africa continued.
Both teams notched three tries apiece, but it was Nicolas Sanchez who opened the scoring with a penalty before Handre Pollard did the same soon after.
Juan Martin Hernandez kicked a snap drop goal to restore the home side’s three-point lead, but Pollard hit back to level once more, before Manuel Montero and Bryan Habana traded converted scores, an earlier penalty from Pollard leaving the visitors three points up at the break.
Undaunted, the Pumas made a stunning start to the second period with two tries inside four minutes from replacement half Tomas Cubelli and fullback Joaquin Tuculet, Sanchez adding one conversion before adding a penalty to give the Pumas a 28-16 lead
South Africa struck back with a well-finished Cornal Hendricks try which Morn Steyn converted to leave a five-point gap would soon be swallowed up by the fervent visitors as Marcell Coetzee scored on the back of a driving maul, Steyn again kicked to give the Boks’ a two-point advantage.
But, desperate to get their first Rugby Championship win, Marcelo Bosch hammered over a penalty from inside his own half to put his side a point up, but Steyn had the final say again, showing tremendous composure to slot the match-winning penalty with three minutes to go.
South Africa 25 – 37 Argentina
2015 Rugby Championship – 8 August 2015
Just under two months ago, Argentina finally ended their barren run against South Africa, picking up their first ever win over the Springboks.
In Durban, the hosts came into the tie as strong favourites but were blown away by a brilliant effort from the visitors who picked up their first win from 20 attempts.
Winger Juan Imhoff scored a 19-minute hat-trick as Argentina finished off the bottom of the Championship for the first time, but it was centre Marcelo Bosch who scored Argentina’s opening, and only other try after just a minute of play at King’s Park.
Imhoff scored two first-half tries as the Pumas took a 27-13 lead into the break before he completed his treble within two minutes of the restart. Fly-half Juan Martin Hernandez landed four conversions and a penalty as South Africa suffered their third successive loss in the competition.
Springboks winger Bryan Habana scored a late consolation try with two minutes left on the clock while lock Lood de Jager and full-back Willie le Roux were also on the scoresheet for South Africa, but it wasn’t enough as the home side slipped to a shock defeat.
Argentina 12-26 South Africa
2015 RWC Warm-up – 15 August 2015
South Africa gained revenge for the previous weekend’s surprise defeat in Durban with a 26-12 victory over the Pumas in Buenos Aires on Saturday.
Wingers Bryan Habana and Lwazi Mvovo both scored tries, while Patrick Lambie kicked 16 points in a solid victory at Jose Amalfitani Stadium.
South Africa led 6-3 after a tight opening quarter with Lambie kicking a pair of penalties and Nicolas Sanchez responding for Argentina with a three-pointer of his own.
But South Africa soon settled into the match and, after a sustained spell camped on Argentina’s try line, it was Habana who profited from scrum-half Ruan Pienaar’s cut-out pass to touch dot down in the corner for the game’s opening try. Lambie added the extras from the touchline to extend their lead to 13-3.
Almost immediately from the restart, Mvovo got the visitors’ second try of the day, with Lambie again adding the extras, but Sanchez reduced the deficit, completing a ‘hat-trick’ of first-half goals of the match to narrow South Africa’s lead to 20-9 at the half-time interval.
Lambie showcased his rich vein of form with the boot after the break as he extended South Africa’s lead two minutes into the second half, striking a drop goal before kicking a decisive third penalty to round off the scoring soon after Sanchez had briefly cut the deficit.