Boks smash Argentina to claim first Rugby Championship title in 10 years

South African player Handre Pollard (L) runs with the ball during the Rugby Championship match between Argentina and South Africa at Padre Martearena Stadium on August 10, 2019 in Salta, Argentina.
South African player Handre Pollard (L) runs with the ball during the Rugby Championship match between Argentina and South Africa at Padre Martearena Stadium on August 10, 2019 in Salta, Argentina.
Image: Juan GASPARINI / AFP

South Africa clinched their first Rugby Championship title in 10 years after a thorough 46-13 dismantling of Argentina in Salta on Saturday.

The performance was never going to be about aesthetics. It required steely effectiveness.

The Boks delivered on the latter quality and capitalised on Australia's shock 47-26 win against New Zealand in Perth to collect the much cherished title.

The Boks will host Argentina at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday in a non-Championship game that'll sort out the last of the Rugby World Cup spots with title now in the bag.

The Springboks conceded a well constructed first minute try by Santiago Cordero, but once South Africa's fearsome pack took over, it was curtains for the hosts.

It wasn't a spectacle, but SA made sure they used their physical dominance to telling effect.

SA's first try scored by Bongi Mbonambi in the ninth minute, was the product of a rolling maul that was a pre-cursor to SA's impending physical dominance.

Argentina's backs had more fluidity, but without front-foot ball, they were rendered irrelevant for the better part of the game.

The Bok backs also didn't gel very quickly, but the pack found it's groove early and toasted their Argentinean counterparts.

The front row of Tendai “Beast” Mtawarira, Mbonambi and Trevor Nyakane had a field day and so did the rest of the forwards.

Flyhalf Handre Pollard, who scored the crucial try on the stroke of half-time that stretched the lead beyond one converted try, made sure the efforts weren't in vain.

He landed four penalties and a conversion to help SA to a 24-13 half-time lead.

Pollard added a fifth penalty straight after half-time, scored his second try in the 53rd minute to stretch SA's advantage and finished the game with 31 points.

The Springboks could afford to play with 14 men as Faf de Klerk was yellow-carded in the 48th minute.

Argentina were in the ascendancy but couldn't make the most of that advantage.

They were made to pay in the 64th minute when Makazole Mapimpi crossed over in the corner to kill the contest.

Three minutes later, Cheslin Kolbe also scored to increase the score to 46-13, which remained unchanged at full-time.

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