Sbu Nkosi scored two tries in the Springboks’ scrappy 24-18 win over Argentina at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday. JON CARDINELLI reports.
Rassie Erasmus should be a relieved yet happy man. While the mix-and-match Bok side lacked synergy for the most part and made a number of errors, several individuals shone and the team did enough to finish on the right side of the result.
Siya Kolisi produced an impressive 52-minute cameo in his comeback Test for the Boks. Marcell Coetzee made some important contributions before he left the field with a concussion, as did several others.
The star of the largely forgettable contest, however, was the Bok right wing.
The hosts combined beautifully in the buildup to the game’s first try. That said, Nkosi had plenty to do when he received the ball out wide. A strong finish ensured that the Boks obtained some reward for their endeavour.
Argentina ended the half strongly, though, with Guido Petti intercepting a loose pass by Cobus Reinach and racing away to score. Joaquin Diaz Bonilla’s conversion steered Argentina into a 10-8 lead at half time.
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The Bok defence lapsed, though, to allow the Pumas back into the game. Elton Jantjies’s cool goal-kicking ensured that the hosts went into the final stages with a slender lead.
Argentina had an opportunity to steal it at the death. Centre Lucas Mensa crossed the line, but referee Luke Pearce disallowed the try after ruling that there was an obstruction in the buildup.
The result has the Boks maintaining their undefeated record in 2019. After thumping Australia in Johannesburg, drawing with the All Blacks in New Zealand, and beating Argentina home and away, they will head to the World Cup in Japan with confidence and momentum.
Springboks – Tries: Sbu Nkosi (2). Conversion: Elton Jantjies. Penalties: Jantjies (4).
Argentina – Tries: Guido Petti, Pablo Matera. Conversion: Joaquin Diaz Bonilla. Penalties: Diaz Bonilla, Benjamin Urdapilleta.
Springboks – 15 Warrick Gelant, 14 Sbu Nkosi, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Dillyn Leyds, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Cobus Reinach, 8 Marcell Coetzee, 7 Rynhardt Elstadt, 6 Siya Kolisi, 5 Lood de Jager, 4 RG Snyman, 3 Vincent Koch, 2 Schalk Brits (c), 1 Thomas du Toit.
Subs: 16 Scarra Ntubeni, 17 Lizo Gqoboka, 18 Wilco Louw, 19 Marvin Orie, 20 Marco van Staden, 21 Kwagga Smith, 22 Faf de Klerk, 23 Frans Steyn.
Pumas – 15 Joaquin Tuculet, 14 Sebastian Cancelliere, 13 Jeronimo de la Fuente, 12 Lucas Mensa, 11 Ramiro Moyano, 10 Joaquin Diaz Bonilla, 9 Felipe Ezcurra, 8 Javier Ortega Desio, 7 Marcos Kremer, 6 Pablo Matera (c), 5 Tomas Lavanini, 4 Guido Petti, 3 Santiago Medrano, 2 Julian Montoya, 1 Mayco Vivas.
Subs: 16 Agustin Creevy, 17 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, 18 Juan Figallo, 19 Matias Alemanno, 20 Tomas Lezana, 21 Gonzalo Bertranou, 22 Benjamin Urdapilleta, 23 Santiago Carreras.
Photo: Lee Warren/Gallo Images