Juan Imhoff scored a hat-trick of tries as Argentina beat South Africa for the first time in 20 attempts, winning 37-25 in Durban. The win sees them earn big points in the World Rugby rankings, while South Africa drop down to the unfamiliar position of fifth.
Argentina were inspired by the presence of the 1965 Pumas, as they went on to outplay an error-prone Springbok side who suffered their fourth straight loss.
It’s the first time that the Springboks have gone through a Tri Nations or Rugby Championship campaign without a win, leaving them in a poor state with not long to go until RWC 2015.
“We need to give credit to Argentina, who outplayed us today,” said coach Heyneke Meyer.
“They delivered a great performance and deserved the win. They played a game that suited them and not us. We could not adapt and sadly, we were just not good enough today. We have let our country and our supporters down today with this unacceptable performance.
“We are a proud team, but you will lose sometimes. What we dished up in the first half was very poor. I apologise to the nation as the buck stops with me as coach. There are no excuses. I take responsibility and will work harder to rectify this before the Rugby World Cup.”
Meyer will not allow the poor campaign to halt his team’s progress going forward.
“This does not put us back for the Rugby World Cup. We are a much better team than this. We will be working even harder. I still believe we are in contention for the World Cup. We are getting a number of big ball carriers back soon and we will be better for it.”
The two sides meet again in Argentina this coming weekend, but the visitors will be without captain Jean de Villiers, who broke his jaw, Marcell Coetzee (knee injury) and Willie Le Roux (sprained ankle).
Imhoff became the first man in 124 years to score a hat-trick of tries against South Africa.