The Springboks let themselves down in Johannesburg, while Argentina came roaring back against the Wallabies in the second round of the Rugby Championship.
Boks let the All Blacks off the hook
The Springboks missed out on a rare opportunity to beat the All Blacks back-to-back after falling 23-35 at a vociferous Emirates Airline Park on Saturday. The result, which ended their hopes of finally reclaiming the Freedom Cup, has to be one of the most disappointing in recent memory and has now heaped pressure on Siya Kolisi’s men ahead of their two-match trip to Australia; a place at which they last won in 2013. Suddenly, two losses Down Under would effectively spell the end of their title challenge and mark a year of massive underachievement.
Much has been made of Jacques Nienaber’s tactical decisions in the wake of the defeat, but as poor as the Boks were, nothing should be taken away from Sam Cane’s boys. The Kiwis manned up when it mattered and their high-intensity game, which was nowhere to be seen a week before, caught the hosts off-guard on a number of occasions. With home and away clashes against Argentina to come, the Kiwis are still well in the fight for another championship.
In some good news for the Boks, Lukhanyo Am took another step towards all-time great status with a mind-blowingly good performance in Joburg – and out of position to boot. The man is a serious Test Match Animal.
Pumas punish Wallabies in San Juan
Argentina put an injury-ravaged Australia side to the sword in a record-breaking 48-17 win in San Juan. The victory, the Pumas’ highest ever over the Wallabies, sees them go top of the standings; level on 5-points with Dave Rennie’s side but with a superior points difference. Right winger Emiliano Boffelli scored a whopping 19-points alone in a performance that will give the South Americans plenty of confidence heading into two tough clashes with New Zealand.
The men in gold were without as many as five first-choice players for this one but should be able to name a much stronger lineup for their upcoming games against the Springboks. While captain Michael Hooper is still expected to miss out, the likes of Angus Bell, Scott Sio and Andrew Kellaway should all be back.
Check out some of the best moments from round two of the Rugby Championship.
Los Pumas seal record win
Argentina capped off their explosive showing in San Juan with this beauty.
Excellent Willemse sets up Mapimps
A magnificent pass from Damian Willemse set up Makazole Mapimpi as the Boks began to claw their way back into the contest.
Ardie channels his inner Julian
Ardie Savea, arguably the best loose forward on the planet right now, gave his best impression of brother Julian with this play down the left flank.
Lukhanyo does the Ampossible – again
While this Makazole Mapimpi try was ultimately chalked off for an obstruction in the build-up, it’s worth taking another look at Lukhanyo Am’s efforts here. The oke is effectively a wizard at this point.
Boks caught napping
The ABs brought a different intensity to Ellis Park and outran the Boks in open play a number of times.
Criticised the All Blacks for a lack of ambition last week in attack and, credit where it's due, they showed it in spades this week in the build-up to Havili's try.— EK Rugby Analysis (@ek_rugby) August 13, 2022
Very few teams would look to tag and go from there 2 points down with 8 minutes left.#RSAvNZL https://t.co/dUtKiUvHjx pic.twitter.com/hBSdDhCzAn