The South African National Rugby team popularly referred to as Springboks, led by Heyneke Meyer has won the third position at the ongoing Rugby World Cup after defeating their Argentinian counterparts.
Heyneke Meyer had described the third-place playoff as akin to kissing your sister, dominated the game from the outset, finishing with two tries in the match between the two beaten semifinalists.
“Of course we would have loved to be playing tomorrow for the World Cup. Today we knew it would be tough tonight, we have a lot of respect for Argentina and a bronze medal is better than fourth place,” retiring veteran lock Victor Matfield said after his 127th and final appearance.
“It’s been a fantastic career and I’m just happy we won the game tonight.”
Both teams signaled their intention to run the ball from the outset but were unable to generate much genuine intensity after the disappointment of missing out on the final.
The Springboks, beaten 20-18 by New Zealand in the semi final match, were rewarded with an early try to winger JP Pietersen, his fifth of the tournament, after spurning the chance for a penalty goal when the Pumas scrumhalf Tomas Cubelli was sinbinned for slowing down the play.
Pollard landed the conversion from the touchline and added three more penalties as the Springboks went to the break leading 16-0.
Sanchez opened Argentina’s account just after the re-start with a long-range drop goal but South Africa hit straight back with Habana throwing the last pass to Eben Etzebeth for the big lock to slide over.
Habana, one of six survivors from the Springboks team that won the 2007 World Cup, had his chances to score, failing to ground a kick in goal then knocking on with the line wide open, but was unable to add to his tally of 15 tries, leaving him level with former New Zealand colossus Jonah Lomu.
Sanchez and Pollard traded penalties before the Pumas, who probed all night without ever really looking like breaking through, got a late reward for their efforts when Juan Pablo Orlandi was driven over right in the final move of the match.
The match was veteran lock Victor Matfield’s last for the Springboks and the end of the Rugby World Cup road for Habana and loose forward Schalk Burger