KEO News Wire, Springboks

Springboks’ second-half revival punishes Pumas

South Africa recovered from a tricky start to their Rugby Championship opener to emerge 34-21 victors over Argentina in Durban on Saturday.

The Springboks struggled to maintain control of the match in the first half and trailed at the interval, but Aphiwe Dyantyi inspired an improved performance thereafter and the Pumas could not live with the hosts for a spell.

A Dyantyi brace added to Lukhanyo Am’s earlier try, while Makazole Mapimpi added a double of his own and Faf de Klerk ended any chance of a comeback to ensure a winning start for South Africa, despite the occasional wobble.

There were at least encouraging signs for new Argentina coach Mario Ledesma as the travelling outfit looked a threat when allowed to attack in the opening 40 minutes, scoring through Nicolas Sanchez and Pablo Matera.

However, the failure to halt the Springboks at the other end once they hit their stride does not bode well ahead of clashes with New Zealand and Australia.

South Africa predictably started on the front foot and they did not have to wait long for the first try, Am muscling through on the left at the end of a lengthy move.

But the opener awoke the Pumas from their slumber and a response was similarly swift. Sanchez ducked under the posts before kicking the extras to edge his side in front and silence the home crowd.

The Springboks attacked with increased gusto, but their play was too often sloppy and Argentina seized the opportunity to counter and extend their lead, as Matera slid over in the corner.

Yet the visitors proved incapable of slowing a fluid, open game and Dyantyi freed himself on the flank to take down a cross-field kick and reach the line.

Dyantyi worked more magic soon after the restart as he sprinted onto a bouncing ball, stretching to touch down after being hauled to the ground just short on the left.

South Africa did not let up this time and Mapimpi crossed from a big De Klerk switch before quickly getting his second as a flustered Pumas defence struggled to cope with the speed of the home side.

Substitutions did finally disrupt the Boks and Matias Moroni picked off a poor pass to keep the hosts on their toes, but De Klerk then crept over and ended the match as a contest with around 10 minutes remaining. News wire is powered by opta

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