SALTA, Argentina (Reuters) - South Africa scored five tries to thump Argentina 41-23 in the Rugby Championship on Saturday, punishing the indiscipline which cost the Pumas a red card for lock Tomas Lavanini.
The victory, the Springboks’ first away after four home wins this season, lifted South Africa level with title holders New Zealand on nine points apiece after two rounds. Australia have one point and Argentine none.
Flanker Siya Kolisi ran in two tries with flyhalf Elton Jantjies and replacement forward Jean-Luc du Preez scoring the others while the Springboks were also awarded a penalty try. Jantjies kicked 14 points for a personal tally of 19.
Wingers Ramiro Moyano and Matias Moroni scored tries for the Pumas, who lost Lavanini and Juan Manuel Leguizamon to the sin bin and had Lavanini sent off for a deliberate knockdown, his second yellow card offence, 23 minutes from the end.
Argentina, beaten 37-15 by the same opponents in their tournament opener in Port Elizabeth, led for 20 minutes after an early penalty by Emiliano Boffelli and despite losing Lavanini to his first yellow card for a shoulder charge.
The Pumas missed a gilt-edged chance for a try and in the 20th minute, Jantjies chipped over the Argentine defence, flanker Jesse Kriel picked up and passed to Kolisi who went over under the posts.
Jantjies, who had missed two early penalties, converted and added a penalty but Argentina hit back from the restart.
The South Africans allowed flyhalf Hernandez’s high kick to bounce and Moyano nipped in the steal the ball and charge over with the veteran number 10 converting to level the scores.
However, the Springboks changed ends 17-10 ahead after a Jantjies try following Leguizamon’s yellow card for repeated infringements.
The home side made a good start to the second half, closing the gap with a Hernandez penalty, and looked poised to go over the South African line, only for the visitors to steal the ball and break upfield with Kolisi scoring his second try.
Tempers flared when South Africa looked set to go over again and Lavanini stretched to knock down the ball. Both he and Leguizamon were involved in fighting with rival players before South Africa were awarded the penalty try.
Argentina’s game looked to have completely unravelled yet their 14 men fought back, Moroni went over in a breakaway down the right and Springboks fullback Andries Coetzee was sin binned for bundling him into advertising boards.
A second Boffelli penalty from halfway lifted Argentina within eight points and 20 minutes still to play but late South African pressure delivered 10 more points.
Reporting by Rex Gowar, editing by Ed Osmond