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Springboks power too much for Los Pumas in Argentina

By Jan De Koning
Bongi Mbonambi of South Africa and teammates lift the Copa Visa Macro after winning a test match between Argentina and South Africa at Jose Amalfitani Stadium on August 5, 2023 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. (Photo by Marcelo Endelli/Getty Images)

South Africa started their World Cup warm-up campaign with an impressive 24-13 win over Argentina at Estadio Jose Amalfitani in Buenos Aires on Saturday.


The Springboks, who outscored Los Pumas by two tries to one, will be very happy with the form of some fringe players in a second half that saw them outscore their hosts 21-3.

Despite the Boks having 60 percent of the possession and territory – and twice being held up over the tryline – it was Los Pumas that held a 10-3 lead at the half-time break.

However, a two-try blitzkrieg – wings by Makazole Mapimpi and Makazole Mapimpi – inside the opening 10 minutes of the second half turned the tide and saw the visitors race clear.

The final scoreline somewhat flatters the home team with the visitors far more dominant than the 11-point margin.

Martin Bogado, in his first start, got his head on the wrong side of an attempted tackle on Manie Libbok and was taken from the field for a Head Injury Assessment in the second minute.

The Springboks launched a series of powerful forward raids on the Los Pumas line, only for the ball to be held up ingoal. Playing on an advantage, they came back for a penalty – Libbok pushing wide a straightforward kick at goal.


Points Flow Chart

South Africa win +11
Time in lead
Mins in lead
% Of Game In Lead
Possession Last 10 min
Points Last 10 min

On the 15-minute mark the Boks again got a penalty as reward for their hard work and pressure game. This time Libbok slotted the penalty – 3-0 to the visitors.

Argentina replied with a quick-tap penalty by scrumhalf Gonzalo Bertranou in the 22nd minute. Emiliano Boffelli added the conversion – 7-3 to the hosts.

Next Jean Kleyn was held up over the line, as the Argentinean defence held its own against the hard-charging Springbok forwards. Soon afterwards the Boks received another penalty – Libbok again pushing it wide to the right.

South Africa’s discipline also let them down – with Franco Mostert being yellow carded for tackling an opponent off the ball, moments after Marvin Orie had a penalty reversed for pushing an opponent in the face.


Boffelli kicked the penalty for a 10-3 lead to the home team – which is how it stayed till the half-time break.

The Boks got their second half off to a perfect start – Makazole Mapimpi finishing off a great team try, after some great hands involving both Damian Willemse and Manie Libbok. The flyhalf added the conversion to level the scores up at 10-all.

From the restart the Boks won a penalty, set up a line-out and a perfectly-timed crossfield kick by Libbok found Canan Moodie in space on the right wing for the easiest of tries. Libbok again pushed his kick to the right. However, the Boks were back in the lead – 15-10.

The Boks conceded another silly breakdown penalty, allowing Boffelli to close the gap to 13-15.

Not long afterwards Jasper Wiese won a penalty at the tackle and this time Libbok hooked his attempted shot at goal well wide to the left. Libbok got another shot in the 58th minute, finally landing one – making it 18-13 to the Boks.

The Boks now had their tails up and another penalty saw Libbok aim a shot at goal from almost 50 metres out – stretching the lead to 21-13, That was followed by a scrum penalty to the Boks – Libbok stretching the lead to 11 points, 24-13.

Two minutes from time Evan Roos had a try overturned through obstructive running earlier in the move, but the Boks the proverbial horse had bolted.


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Connor 319 days ago

A very generous assessment of the boks win, but victory is victory and we'll take it.

bob 319 days ago

What has happened to the once great Argentinian scrummaging?

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Flankly 8 hours ago
Resilient Irish will test Springboks despite provincial setbacks

The Bok kryptonite is complacency. How did they lose to Japan in 2015, or to Italy in 2016? There are plenty of less dramatic examples. They often boil down to the Boks dialing back their focus and intensity, presuming they can win with less than 100% commitment. This can be true of most teams, but there is a reason that the Boks are prone to it. It boils down to the Bok game plan being predicated on intensity. The game plan works because of the relentless and suffocating pressure that they apply. They don’t allow the opponent to control the game, and they pounce on any mistake. It works fantastically, but it is extremely demanding on the Bok players to pull it off. And the problem is that it stops working if you execute at anything less than full throttle. Complacency kills the Boks because it can lead to them playing at 97% and getting embarrassed. So the Bulls/Leinster result is dangerous. It’s exactly what is needed to introduce that hint of over-confidence. Rassie needs to remind the team of the RWC pool game, and of the fact that Ireland have won 8 of the 12 games between the teams in the last 20 years. And of course the Leinster result also means that Ireland have a point to prove. Comments like “a club team beating a test team” will be pasted on the changing room walls. They will be out to prove that the result of the RWC game truly reflects the pecking order between the teams. The Boks can win these games, but, as always, they need to avoid the kryptonite.

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