Boks

The Boks beat Argentina on Saturday, but it was ultimately a consolation win. Photo: SA Rugby website

Boks fail to fire on attack, All Blacks take Rugby Champs title

The Boks claimed a 38-21 win over Argentina on Saturday, but could not prevent the All Blacks from being crowned Rugby Championship winners.

Boks

The Boks beat Argentina on Saturday, but it was ultimately a consolation win. Photo: SA Rugby website

The Boks finished the Rugby Championship like they started it, with a win – this time by 38-21 (halftime 17-7) over Argentina – but they failed to score the points needed to dethrone New Zealand as champions of the Southern Hemisphere.

The Boks squandered a number of opportunities and made some uncharacteristic errors in the first half, but still scored twice – through Jasper Wiese from a push-over scrum and Siya Kolisi from a dominant lineout maul – with Frans Steyn adding both conversions and a penalty goal to put the hosts in the lead by 17-0.

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Argentina hit back though with a converted try at the death of the first half by Gonzalo Bertranou to bring the Boks’ lead back to 10 points.

Although the Pumas scored two more tries in the second half – by Juan Martín González and Matías Moroni – with the conditions deteriorating and Eben Etzebeth and Faf de Klerk in the sin bin, the Boks’ forward dominance was simply too much for the visitors, and the hosts were awarded two penalty tries in the second half as their marauding pack was stopped illegally on their way to the tryline.

The Boks finished on a high when Kurt-Lee Arendse crossed for a fifth try to seal the win.

Scorers:

Springboks 38 (17) – Tries: Jasper Wiese, Siya Kolisi, Penalty tries (2), Kurt-Lee Arendse. Conversions: Frans Steyn (3). Penalty goal: Steyn.

Argentina 21 (7) – Tries: Gonzalo Bertranou, Juan Martín González, Matías Moroni. Conversions: Emiliano Boffelli (3).

Even before kick-off, New Zealand were odds on favourites to clinch the Rugby Championship trophy after thrashing the Wallabies earlier on Saturday. The Boks could only edge in front if they beat Argentina by 39 points along with a try-scoring bonus point.

As it turned out, the Springboks never looked in with a realistic chance of achieving such a big margin of victory as they again struggled to take full of opportunities, while lacking any real rhythm on attack.

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Here we hand out some ratings to the Boks:

Jasper Wiese (8/10)

Undoubtedly the best Bok on the night, Wiese produced a standout performance once again, making 58m, nine carries and beating five defenders.

Wiese also made seven tackles and one won superb turnover as he continued to prove that he is now the unequivocal first-choice No 8 for the Boks.

Siya Kolisi (7/10)

A strong game from the skipper, who made 10 tackles and got through a mountain of work in general, which included four carries and a try.

Ultimately Kolisi’s efforts were unfortunately in vain, with the Springboks just unable to find any real team cohesion.

Duane Vermeulen (6/10)

It says a lot about the nature of the Springboks’ disjointed performance that it really proved to be difficult to pick any real standout players.

Vermeulen did add some real energy off the bench, though, and looked desperate to prove a point as he made as many as 45m in double-quick time.

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Frans Steyn (3/10)

It was always going to be a gamble to start Steyn at flyhalf for the first time since 2008, but there really were few other options available to the Boks.

Unfortunately the veteran struggled to make an impact, uncharacteristically missing kicks to touch in the first half, which served as a real momentum killer for the hosts. All in all, it was just a disjoined performance from Steyn as he produced a series of frustrating errors.

Willie le Roux (3/10)

Le Roux has been one of the Boks’ most influential backline players during the course of the 2022 season, but this was a game where he misfired along with many of his teammates.

The experienced fullback was most notably left grasping at air as Argentina youngster Juan Martin Gonzalez stepped around him to score an important try. Ultimately, Le Roux just couldn’t find any of his magic touches as the Boks delivered a frustratingly stop-start display.

Springbok team: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Canan Moodie, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Frans Steyn, 9 Jaden Hendrikse, 8 Jasper Wiese, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Siya Kolisi (captain), 5 Lood de Jager, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Steven Kitshoff

Subs: 16 Bongi Mbonambi, 17 Ox Nche, 18 Vincent Koch, 19 Franco Mostert, 20 Duane Vermeulen, 21 Kwagga Smith, 22 Faf de Klerk, 23 Kurt-Lee Arendse.

Argentina team:  15 Juan Cruz Mallia, 14 Emiliano Boffelli, 13 Matias Moroni , 12 Jeronimo De La Fuente, 11 Juan Imhoff, 10 Santiago Carreras, 9 Gonzalo Bertranou, 8 Pablo Matera, 7 Marcos Kremer, 6 Juan Martin Gonzalez, 5 Tomas Lavanini, 4 Matias Alemanno, 3 Eduardo Bello, 2 Julian Montoya (c), 1 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro.

Subs: 16 Agustin Creevy, 17 Mayco Vivas, 18 Joel Sclavi, 19 Guido Petti, 20 Pedro Rubiolo, 21 Tomas Cubelli, 22 Benjamin Urdapilleta, 23 Bautista Delguy.