Johannesburg – The Springboks got their Rugby Championship campaign off to a good start with a 73-11 annihilation of Argentina at FNB Stadium on Saturday.
The Boks were in rampant form as they scored nine tries to one for their biggest winning margin over the South Americans to sound a warning that they want to stake a claim for the title in this year's competition.
They were not only impressive on attack but deprived Los Pumas of possession, while their defensive line proved to be impenetrable.
The match, played as part of the Nelson Mandela Sport and Culture Day, had little entertainment value in the opening 10 minutes.
However, Springbok flyhalf Morne Steyn converted two penalties in this period to hand his side a six-point lead.
At the quarter-hour mark Argentine captain Felipe Contepomi added to the scoreline with a successful conversion.
The two placekickers exchanged two more penalties between them, with only three points separating the two sides.
However, the momentum swung in the hosts' favour when a deliberate knock down by hooker Eusebio Guinazo metres from the line earned him a yellow card and a penalty try against his team.
Steyn converted the try to extend the Boks' lead to 10 points after 27 minutes of play.
The try sparked the Boks into action as they added another five-pointer six minutes later when JJ Engelbrecht fielded a Willie le Roux grubber kick to canter through for the try.
Steyn converted and added another penalty conversion in the 38th minute which saw the Boks go into the change room leading 26-6.
Shortly after the restart the Boks showed their intent with a driving maul from a lineout that saw Adriaan Strauss crossing the whitewash for the their third try of the match, with Steyn converting.
To add insult to injury Argentina received their second yellow card of the match, with Leonardo Senatore receiving his marching orders for a dangerous tackle on Engelbrecht in the 50th minute.
Four minutes later Willem Alberts scored the Boks' bonus-point try, while captain Jean de Villiers added the fourth a minute later as he intercepted an Argentine ball from the kickoff to find an open goalline, with Steyn converting both tries.
Playing in his first match in more than a year, Fourie du Preez also got onto the score sheet in the 62nd minute.
In the 66th minute Bryan Habana scored the team's seventh try in the to bring up their 66th point in the match, with only six points against them.
Four minutes before the end of the match Bismarck du Plessis closed South Africa's try-scoring account, with Steyn finding his target once again.
The Argentineans had the final say of the match as Contepomi got over the whitewash to add some respectability to the score sheet.
Springboks 73 (26): Tries: Penalty Try, JJ Engelbrecht, Adriaan Strauss, Willem Alberts, Jean de Villiers, Bryan Habana, Fourie du Preez, Duane Vermeulen, Bismarck du Plessis. Conversions: Morne Steyn (8). Penalties: Steyn (4).
Argentina 11 (6): Tries: Felipe Contepomi. Penalties: Contepomi (2). – Sapa