Poor Damian Willemse game for South Africa, Jaden Hendrikse Springbok debut try No.25 jersey & more- SA 32-12 Argentina Rugby Championship 2021

A heavily changed Springbok side, fresh from beating the British and Irish Lions in Cape Town, got their Rugby Championship campaign off to a winning start as they beat Argentina 32-12 in Port Elizabeth. Here are our talking points from the clash.

Poor Damian Willemse game at full back

He is a very talented player, but this was one game Damian Willemse would like to forget in a hurry. Given the No.15 jersey- he had a disappointing game with knock ons, getting isolated and turned over, and even conceding penalties. Perhaps the poorest of the Springbok players on show. Is Aphelele Fassi a more natural option at 15 for the Boks?

Two fantastic tries for Aphelele Fassi vs Argentina

The rising Sharks star showcased some lovely handling skills to bag two tries here as he played on the wing. The first was particularly impressive as he latched on to a crossfield kick from Elton Jantjies, but the second wasn’t bad either. His aerial skills were also decent- is it time to give him a shot at full back?

Argentina struggle in the air

Argentina were very poor in the air and struggled to deal with the Springbok aerial bombardment all evening. It would’ve been noted as a matter of real concern for Los Pumas.

Jaden Hendrikse South Africa debut try wearing 25 jersey

Hendrikse was a late addition to the Springbok lineup after Herschel Jantjies withdrew and was given the No.25 jersey here. Scored a try on debut- the youngest player in the squad latching on to a pass from Morne Steyn (the oldest) after a nice run from Marco Van Staden.

Joseph Dweba debut at hooker

The former Cheetahs hooker’s face was full of emotion at national anthem time, and he gave a fairly good account of himself in a little over a half of rugby before being replaced by Malcolm Marx.

South Africa lineup vs Argentina 2021 Rugby Championship | Dweba Springbok test debut

Here is the South Africa 23 vs Argentina for their 2021 Rugby Championship opener in Port Elizabeth. As expected, it’s changes galore for the Springboks after their successful win over the Lions. There is a Springbok test debut for Joseph Dweba at hooker and multiple changes in the backline where Cobus Reinach and Elton Jantjies will be paired at half back, Frans Steyn & Jesse Kriel at centre, Aphelele Fassi and Sbu Nkosi on the wings and Damian Willemse at full back.

The only pair constant from the 3rd Lions test is the locking one of Eben Etzebeth and Lood de Jager.

Springbok Squad vs Argentina Rugby Championship 2021

Bledisloe Cup 2020 Crowds | Attendance Stats for 2020 Tri Nations/ Rugby Championship

Here is a look at the official attendance statistics for the 2020 Bledisloe Cup and the Tri-Nations (Rugby Championship) this year. Owing to Covid-19, South Africa will not be participating in the RC, and all games will be held in Australia only.

Bledisloe Cup 2020 Attendances

New Zealand 16-16 Australia Wellington 2020 Attendance 31,020 (11 October)
All Blacks 27-7 Wallabies Eden Park Auckland 2020 Attendance 46,049 (18 October)
Australia 5-43 NZ Sydney ANZ Stadium 2020 Crowd 25,689 (31 October)
Australia 24-22 All Blacks Suncorp Brisbane Attendance 36,626 (7 November, 2020)

Total Bledisloe Cup 2020 attendance: 139,384
Average Bledisloe Cup 2020 Crowd: 34,846

Tri Nations/ Rugby Championship 2020 Attendance Statistics

Australia vs NZ 5-43 ANZ Sydney 2020 Crowd 25,689 (31 October)
Australia vs All Blacks 24-22 Brisbane Attendance 36,626 (7 November, 2020)
New Zealand 15-25 Argentina Bankwest Stadium Sydney 2020 Attendance 9,063 (14 November, 2020)

Total Rugby Championship 2020 attendance: 71,378
Average Tri Nations 2020 Crowd: 23,793

All Blacks 15-25 Argentina | Talking points from Los Pumas’ historical win over New Zealand

Argentina produced one of the greatest performances in their rugby history as they defeated New Zealand for the first time ever, upsetting Ian Foster’s men 25-15 in Sydney. Here are our talking points from the Tri Nations clash.

Nicolas Sanchez excellent: Argentinian teams in the past have had issues with goalkickers- a reliable one with the boot is often the difference in tight games. Sanchez was excellent here, scoring all 25 of Argentina’s points and nailing penalties from near the half way line to keep Los Pumas ahead of the All Blacks.

Argentina do not miss a single tackle: In past Rugby Championship games, Argentina have often been able to keep pace with the All Blacks for 50 odd minutes, only to fall away in the last quarter as New Zealand’s superior fitness and quality off the bench turned the game in their favour.

Here though, Los Pumas ensured they didn’t miss a single tackle in the game. With New Zealand struggling to break the line, the All Blacks’ attack looked toothless. Dominating NZ’s tight five and winning the forward exchanges with quality defence has proven to be an effective template against the All Blacks in recent years, and Argentina adopted it perfectly here.

Richie Mo’unga misses touch late in the first half against Argentina: New Zealand are often said to be at their most dangerous in the ten minute period just before and after the interval. They had an excellent opportunity here too just before the break, but Mo’unga missed touch with his penalty, and Argentina escaped. A good kick would’ve set up a maul close to the Los Pumas line, and a try to the All Blacks at that stage could’ve been a killer blow to the Pumas.

All Blacks 15-25 Argentina

Sotutu missed pass to Damian McKenzie: Hoskins Sotutu was excellent off the bench, and one key second half movement had him come off the back of the scrum close to the Pumas line. He attempted to pass to Damian McKenzie, but it ended up going into touch instead. Had that pass been executed, it would’ve been try time for the All Blacks.

It’s small things like this that the likes of Kieran Read and Richie McCaw were excellent at doing, and the lack of execution hurt New Zealand here.

Pablo Matera a warrior for Argentina: Right from his fifth minute talk to Angus Gardner demanding “respect” and his brilliant 74th minute turnover penalty, flanker Matera was a warrior for Los Pumas. The Argentine back three dominated New Zealand and were key to the South Americans’ stunning victory.

As captain, Matera has probably already cemented his legacy in Pumas history- the first in his country to beat the All Blacks.