Replacement out-half Santiago Gonzalez Iglesias kicked the winning penalty with two minutes remaining as the Pumas eked out a 26-24 triumph after the Springboks had looked poised to rally past Argentina for the second time in eight days.
The win was just reward for an Argentina side angry with themselves for letting victory slip from their grasp in Nelspruit in their tournament opener and vowing they would beat the Springboks at home for a first time.
“We played a fantastic first half, we had a lead that wasn’t a true reflection of what we saw on the pitch,” Argentina coach Daniel Hourcade said. “The truth is this team showed enormous heart in adversity today. I’m really happy because I think we deserved to win it.”
Under new coach Allister Coetzee, South Africa have lost two of their five tests this year but the strength in depth of the Springboks squad very nearly saved the day in Argentina.
They may also be concerned that having won 18 and drawn one of their first 19 meetings with Argentina, they have now lost two of the last five.
It was Argentina’s third win in the championship since joining the elite southern hemisphere tournament in 2015, having also beaten Australia once.
Meanwhile, All Blacks prop Owen Franks has been cleared of eye gouging claims after the southern hemisphere’s governing body did not issue any citings from New Zealand’s Rugby Championship clash against Australia.
Video footage appeared to show the forward’s hands raking across the face of Wallabies lock Kane Douglas during a maul early in Saturday’s clash at Wellington Regional Stadium.
Wallabies coach Michael Cheika said after his side’s 29-9 loss that he had seen the incident and that he thought the match citing commissioner would examine it further.
The alleged eye gouging was not the only incident from the match that was punctuated by several testy incidents, which resulted in shoving matches between the players. Cheika was critical of referee Romain Poite’s handling of the match and the treatment of Wallabies captain Stephen Moore, while it was reported the team were incensed that Hansen had apparently met the official beforehand. Hansen, however, bristled at the report and said he had not met with Poite at all before the clash, which also doubled as the second match in the trans-Tasman Bledisloe Cup series. “It’s not true, unless you count saying ‘G’day’ to him in the morning, because he stayed at this hotel,” Hansen said.