The Springboks scored two tries in the final six minutes to snatch a much-needed bonus-point victory over a fired-up Argentina in Buenos Aires on Saturday.
This Rugby Championship match had a far more dramatic ending than would have been expected when the Springboks went into the break leading by 16 points, but the Pumas showed their claws in the second half and the tourists were required to produce some incredible fight to claim a 36-20 win and put a week coloured by off-field issues behind them.
The win draws the Springboks level with New Zealand on the Rugby Championship log and both teams will have home games against Argentina and Australia, respectively, in the final round.
Despite a nervous opening five minutes, the Springboks quickly kicked into gear and found their momentum through the driving maul.
After Willemse drew the scores level, South Africa got a deserved penalty try when Hendrikse was held up by an offside Carreras, who was subsequently yellow-carded.
The Springboks from there on set about dismantling Los Pumas with the maul, winning penalty after penalty before, after another snipe by Hendrikse, the scrumhalf dotted down under the poles.
The maul also played a role in the third try, as it allowed Malcolm Marx to go over and put the Springboks into the ascendency towards the end of the first half.
Argentina certainly didn’t help themselves with their discipline, as scrumhalf Gonzalo Bertranou was yellow-carded just before the break. The Springboks thought they had a fourth try on the brink of half time through Lood de Jager, but it was chalked off for a knock-on in the build up, with South Africa going into the sheds 22-6 up.
Whatever Michael Cheika said during the break paid off as Argentina came out fired up in the second half. They took advantage of some questionable decision-making from the officials to bring themselves to within three points of the lead through a controversial penalty try and a score from Matias Moroni that was set up by a forward pass .
However, to South Africa’s credit, the visitors never stopped fighting and, after Damian de Allende bashed his way over the tryline, some wonderful hands from Deon Fourie and Makazole Mapimpi put Malcolm Marx over in the final minute for the all-important bonus-point score.
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