South Africa beat Argentina to bronze at Rugby World Cup
Jamie Clark, Sports Editor | October 30, 2015
South Africa 24-13 Argentina
- Pietersen profits from Cubelli sin-binning with early try
- Pollard converts and puts four penalties over posts too
- Springboks lead 16-0 at half-time
- Etzebeth adds another South African try
- Sanchez kicks drop goal, penalty and conversion for Pumas
- Rugby World Cup outright try record eludes Habana
Springboks secure third place at tournament
South Africa sought gold at the Rugby World Cup, but settled for bronze as they beat Argentina 24-13 at the Olympic Stadium in the third and fourth place play-off.
It proved a bittersweet international swansong for retiring Springboks players Schalk Burger and Victor Matfield, who were part of the victorious 2007 vintage.
Heyneke Meyer has plenty of promising young talent to replace these outgoing elder South African statesmen, while the Pumas bode farewell to flanker Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe.
Argentina ill-discipline catalyst for defeat
Tomas Cubelli’s early sin-binning for slowing down the ball allowed the Springboks to stretch their opponents. Played was swiftly switched from under the posts to JP Pietersen out wide for the opening try inside six minutes.
Handre Pollard’s conversion was the first of four successful first-half kicks over the posts, with the other three coming in the form of penalties.
It could, and perhaps should’ve been more with Bryan Habana unable to capitalise on three fantastic opportunities to go over and surpass Jonah Lomu as record Rugby World Cup tryscorer. Pietersen also ran out of in-goal area in which to run when chipping forward.
Argentina’s poor discipline allowed Pollard to add penalty points aplenty and cement at 16-0 half-time lead for South Africa, but Pumas fly half Nicolas Sanchez kicked a drop goal soon after the restart to at least put them on the board.
Habana turns provider
This simply provoked an immediate response and increased deficit, with the Springboks cunningly switching play and Habana selflessly offloaded to lock Eben Etzebeth, who crossed in the corner.
Pollard found the angle too acute to convert from, but easily added further penalty points with Argentina caught offside twice in quick succession.
Sanchez also kicked over again, but numerous handling errors and poor decision-making on the offensive meant the Pumas were always chasing an insurmountable lead.
Pressure placed upon them by South Africa saw an injury-hit Argentina outfit, missing several key players, unable to replicate their shock victory in Durban from August, despite a last-gasp converted try from Juan Pablo Orlandi.
Check out our Rugby World Cup archives.