Published: Tue, August 13, 2019
Sport | By Wilson Duncan

Pollard stars as Springboks win Rugby Championship for first time

Pollard stars as Springboks win Rugby Championship for first time

Pollard, Makazole Mapimpi and Cheslin Kolbe each crossed within 20 minutes as the Springboks secured a bonus point and their first Rugby Championship title since 1999, when the competition was called the Tri-Nations.

Flyhalf Handre Pollard scored two tries and tallied a career-high 31 points to help the Springboks claim to a fourth southern hemisphere title.

South Africa knew a victory in the final match of the tournament at Estadio Padre Ernesto Martearena would deny Australia the title after the Wallabies had thrashed defending champions New Zealand 47-26 earlier on Saturday. "It's a nice thing for the team and also a good thing for us going into a World Cup".

Pollard further extended South Africa's lead with a penalty early in the second half but they suffered a setback when Faf de Klerk was sin-binned in the 48th minute for a series of infringements. The lead changed hands three times in an exchange of penalties between Pollard and Pumas flyhalf Nicolas Sanchez before the Springboks edged ahead.

The Springboks responded strongly, however, and Mbonambi touched down from a maul following a lineout 13 minutes in, albeit Pollard failed to convert after he had previously found the target with a penalty.

Argentina collapsed in the second half after holding their own during the opening 40 minutes until a Pollard try gave South Africa an 11-point lead at the break.

New Zealand had won the past three championships and six of the previous seven.

A very quiet first half for the fullback particular on attack. "There's still a lot of work to be done but it's a good feeling".

Argentina coach Mario Ledesma said that despite the disappointing results in the truncated championship, Argentina would not be distracted from its preparations for a tough World Cup pool that also includes England and France.

"It hurts us all, in our country ... but there's still a month of work before the World Cup and we mustn't lose sight of our focus".

"So for us it's a great feeling, but I want to emphasise it's more about working on our consistency and working towards the things we hope to achieve". The scrum is something that needs work.

'Winning a trophy wasn't something we had done for a while, so that was great but in a few months there's a bigger one to win and that's our main aim.

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