DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA – Argentina beat South Africa for the first time in a test on Saturday, pushing the Springboks’ World Cup plans toward turmoil with a 37-25 victory in the final round of the Rugby Championship.
Argentina scored four tries at Kings Park, three in the first half, and led the two-time world champion 34-13 when wing Juan Imhoff completed his hat trick early in the second half, stunning a crowd that included reunited members of the 1965 Pumas, the first Argentina team to visit the republic.
The incumbent Pumas celebrated the first win over the Boks in 20 tests since 1993.
“It’s a great victory, maybe the most important one (ever for Argentina),” Argentina coach Daniel Hourcade said.
Meanwhile, No. 2-ranked South Africa dwelt on one of its worst performances in recent memory. It heads to rugby’s showpiece having lost four straight tests for the first time since 2010.
“It is definitely a wake-up call for many of the players,” South Africa coach Heyneke Meyer said. “You need wake up calls in life, but not at home.”
Center Marcelo Bosch scored Argentina’s other try, the opening score just two minutes in, and the Springboks were second-best throughout.
It left them last in the Rugby Championship, the first time since the introduction of the South Americans in 2012 that the bottom team has not been Argentina.
Argentina was outstanding, and carved South Africa open in the second minute, with flyhalf Juan Martin Hernandez and Imhoff combining in a set move off a lineout, and Imhoff sending center Bosch clear to score. Argentina was bossing South Africa’s scrum, too, winning feeds against the head and penalties as they put the Springboks front row — and the whole team — under pressure.
“For us, it’s a very important weapon,” Argentina captain and hooker Agustin Creevy said. “We are conscious that we have a very good scrum.”