Pumas claim first ever triumph against Springboks
Juan Imhoff scored a superb hat-trick for the Pumas as they dramatically blew away the Springboks 37-25 in Johannesburg.
The win, which was their first ever against South Africa, came on the day Argentina celebrated the 50th anniversary of when the Pumas first ever-toured South Africa 50 year’s ago in 1965.
Argentina also as a result finished off the bottom in The Rugby Championship for the first time.
After narrow losses to Australia and New Zealand, the Springboks were expected to lay down a World Cup marker against Argentina, but the Pumas had other ideas were outstanding from start to finish. They physically dominated South Africa at the scrum and breakdown.
Marcelo Bosch had scored early before Juan Imhoff touched down a hat-trick to make up the Pumas four tries while the boot of fly-half Martin Hernandez made up the rest of the scoring.
While it gave the Pumas a huge boost in their World Cup build-up, it was a third straight loss for South Africa. It puts the Springboks World Cup preparations in serious jeopardy with many questions being raised with just one warm-up game remaining before they get their campaign underway.
Los Pumas started the game, as they would go on by unlocking the Springbok defence within two minutes when Imhoff released Bosch to burst through and score under the posts. Hernandez then added the extras with a simple kick, 0-7.
Handre Pollard pulled back three points with a penalty.
But the Pumas had the Springboks rattled again when they touched down a second try through Imhoff, who raced over following some a great inside pass from Cubelli. And Hernandez added the extras as Argentine continued their stunning start.
Pollard added another penalty but again the Pumas shocked the hosts as this time Cubelli sent Imhoff down the blindside to score in the corner. Again Hernandez converted to stretch Argentina’s lead to 15 points, 6-21.
South Africa finally got their first try five minutes before the break when Geoffrey De Jager shrugged off a few tackles to reach and touch down on the line. And Pollard made no mistake in adding the two.
Hernandez though quickly responded for the Pumas with a penalty to stretch the visitor’s lead to 11 points. And a well-struck long distance shot at goal from Bosch just before the break established a commanding lead for Argentina going into half-time
After the break, Pumas continued to dominate with a fourth try of the evening. It was that man again Imhoff with his third, but his hat-trick was somewhat spoiled in the contentious circumstances it was awarded.
Hernandez again converted confidently to move the Pumas 21 points clear.
South Africa hit back after 48 minutes when fullback Willie Le Roux burst down the touchline to dive over in the corner. Pollard then added the extras to narrow the lead to 14 points.
Bosch, however, extended Argentina’s lead with a drop-goal, 20-37.
Argentina then defended bravely but with less than two minutes to play Bryan Habana put his stamp on the game but Lamb missed the with time against the Springboks.
Man of the match
The Argentine Wing was superb from start to finish. His finishing was world-class and his performance will live long in the memories of Pumas supporters.