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Du Plessis injury takes shine off Springboks' opening salvo

Date

David Legge

Crunch time ... Argentina's Marcelo Bosch.

Crunch time ... Argentina's Marcelo Bosch. Photo: Gallo Images/Getty Images

CAPE TOWN: South African hooker Bismarck du Plessis has been ruled out for the rest of the season after being injured in the opening minutes of the Springboks' scrappy 21-point victory over Argentina in the Rugby Championship.

There was no fairytale debut for Argentina as they fell to a more creative South Africa at Newlands. The win was soured, however, by news that Du Plessis had been diagnosed with knee ligament damage following the game and has been withdrawn from the squad to travel to Argentina for the return leg on Sunday, Sydney time.

The match was won and lost in the first 20 minutes of the second half when the Pumas missed three penalty kicks after trailing 20-6 at half-time before right winger Bryan Habana snatched an opportunist try.

Injured ... Bismarck du Plessis of South Africa.

Injured ... Bismarck du Plessis of South Africa. Photo: Gallo Images/Getty Images

''We played well in patches but there is a lot of work ahead and we need to be hard on ourselves when analysing this match,'' Springboks captain Jean de Villiers said.

''There was a lot to play for today after the terrible scenes at Lonmin mine two days ago. We have a huge job to perform for our country - we have to offer people hope.''

Clashes between armed police and miners striking for higher salaries in the North West province on Thursday led to 34 deaths, dozens of injuries and hundreds of arrests.

''Argentina made history today and we feel honoured as the first players from the country to play in the southern hemisphere championship,'' said skipper and No.8 Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe. ''This was a high-intensity rugby match and I am proud of my players for never giving up. I am also grateful to those who worked so hard for so many years to get us this opportunity.''

South Africa will be disappointed at failing to secure a bonus-point fourth try from late pressure in what will probably be the easiest of six fixtures in the former Tri Nations.

Five-eighth Morne Steyn was back to his place-kicking best for the Springboks after a poor mid-year series against England, landing three conversions and two penalties for a perfect record.

Argentina could have done with him as outside-centre Marcelo Bosch failed from an early second-half penalty attempt and then fly-half Juan Martin Hernandez fluffed two closer-range kicks at goal.

The Pumas pack recovered from a poor start in which they conceded free kicks at the first two scrums for early engagements to hold their own in the set pieces and win some crucial turnovers.

But the backs never looked like scoring a try and this will be an area of concern for coach Santiago Phelan before the return match in western provincial capital Mendoza.

Fullback Zane Kirchner and breakaway Marcell Coetzee crossed the try line in the first half for South Africa with Steyn converting both and kicking two penalties.

Hernandez, back in the blue and white of the Pumas after a three-year injuries-induced absence, succeeded with both his first-half penalty attempts for the South Americans.

AFP

Rugby Internationals 2014

Round 1
Sat, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
SAM 18 vs TGA 18 Report Stats
FJI 25 vs ITA 14 Report Stats
NZL 20 vs ENG 15 Report Stats
AUS 50 vs FRA 23 Report Stats
Sun, 08 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 47 vs WXV 13 Report Stats
ARG 17 vs IRE 29 Report Stats
USA 6 vs SCO 24 Report Stats
CAN 25 vs JPN 34 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Sat, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
SAM 15 vs ITA Report Stats
FJI 45 vs TGA 17 Report Stats
NZL 28 vs ENG 27 Report Stats
AUS 6 vs FRA Report Stats
Sun, 15 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 38 vs WAL 16 Report Stats
CAN 17 vs SCO 19 Report Stats
ARG 17 vs IRE 23 Report Stats
USA 29 vs JPN 37 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 3
Sat, 21 JunTimes shown AEST
ARG 19 vs SCO 21 Report Stats
FJI 13 vs SAM 18 Report Stats
JPN 26 vs ITA 23 Report Stats
AUS 39 vs FRA 13 Stats
NZL 36 vs ENG 13 Report Stats
Sun, 22 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 31 vs WAL 30 Report Stats
USA 38 vs CAN 35 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 4
Sun, 29 JunTimes shown AEST
RSA 55 vs SCO 6 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 5
Sun, 02 NovTimes shown AEDT
BAR 36 vs AUS 40 Report Stats
USA 6 vs NZL 74 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 6
Sun, 09 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA 24 vs SAM 13 Report Stats
ENG 21 vs NZL 24 Report Stats
WAL 28 vs AUS 33 Report Stats
FRA 40 vs FJI 14 Report Stats
IRE 29 vs RSA 15 Report Stats
SCO 41 vs ARG 31 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 7
Sun, 16 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA 18 vs ARG 20 Report Stats
ENG 28 vs RSA 31 Report Stats
WAL 17 vs FJI 13 Report Stats
SCO 16 vs NZL 24 Report Stats
FRA 29 vs AUS 26 Report Stats
Mon, 17 NovTimes shown AEDT
IRE 49 vs GEO 7 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 8
Sun, 23 NovTimes shown AEDT
ITA 6 vs RSA 22 Report Stats
SCO 37 vs TGA 12 Report Stats
IRE 26 vs AUS 23 Report Stats
WAL 16 vs NZL 34 Report Stats
ENG 28 vs SAM 9 Report Stats
FRA 13 vs ARG 18 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 9
Sun, 30 NovTimes shown AEDT
ENG vs AUS 01:30Twic
WAL vs RSA 01:30MilS
View All Fixtures
 
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