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Last-gasp Whiteley try gives Boks victory in thriller against Pumas

Allister Coetzee’s side got their Rugby Championship off to a winning start.

South Africa 30

Argentina 23

A LAST-GASP Warren Whiteley try gave South Africa a dramatic 30-23 victory over Argentina Saturday in a Rugby Championship first-round thriller in Nelspruit.

Trailing by 10 points with 10 minutes left, the Springboks fought back to score two tries and avenge a stunning home loss to the Pumas in the corresponding fixture last season.

Rugby Union - Rugby World Cup 2015 - Pool B - South Africa v Samoa - Villa Park Springboks captain Adriaan Strauss [file photo]. Source: Joe Giddens

Recalled full-back Johan Goosen triggered the fightback with a try created by scrum-half and man of the match Faf de Klerk.

And with less than one minute left, No. 8 Whiteley dived over in the corner to give the hosts a winning start over brave opponents who secured a losing bonus point.

In the opening match of the Championship earlier Saturday, world champions New Zealand thrashed Australia 42-8 in Sydney.

South Africa had the first scoring chance on a pitch made slippery by pre-match rain, but fly-half Elton Jantjies pulled his kick wide of the right post.

However, from the drop-out the Springboks took the lead with Jantjies bursting past two defenders and Goosen sent right wing Ruan Combrinck over in the corner.

Jantjies atoned for his penalty miss by converting from the touchline to give the home side a seven-point lead as they sought revenge for a 37-25 loss in Durban last year.

Rival fly-halves Nicolas Sanchez and Jantjies traded penalties and South Africa led 10-3 midway through the opening half.

Giant Argentine left wing Manuel Montero was sin-binned on 22 minutes for lifting South African centre Damian de Allende and then flinging him to the ground.

But it did not prove to be a setback as the South Americans scored 10 unanswered points when reduced to 14 players.

Sanchez slotted a penalty and then superb handling between backs and forwards culminated in centre Matias Orlando diving over for a try Sanchez converted.

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Barbarians v Argentina - Killik Cup - Twickenham Stadium Nicolas Sanchez was at 10 for the Pumas [file photo]. Source: PA Archive/Press Association Images

South Africa fluffed chances to score again before half-time in front of a 27,500 crowd.

Jantjies missed two penalties, one of which came back off a post, and centre Lionel Mapoe lost the ball over the try-line, leaving the Pumas 13-10 ahead at the break.

There was a further blow for the Springboks six minutes into the second half when veteran Bryan Habana was sin-binned after an aerial collision with fellow winger Santiago Cordero.

But the twice former world champions survived being numerically disadvantaged and kept the Argentines scoreless while a man down.

Jantjies and Sanchez traded penalties before the Pumas went 23-13 ahead through a try by Cordero that Sanchez converted.

A four-minute purple patch for South Africa brought the teams level as Goosen scored and Jantjies slotted a conversion and a penalty.

Whiteley then scored the crucial try which Jantjies also converted from the touchline.

South Africa scorers:

Tries: Ruan Combrinck, Johan Goosen, Warren Whiteley

Conversions: Elton Jantjies (3)

Penalties: Jantjies (3)

Argentina scorers:

Tries: Matias Orlando, Santiago Cordero

Conversions: Nicolas Sanchez (2)

Penalties: Sanchez (3)

SOUTH AFRICA: Johan Goosen; Ruan Combrinck, Lionel Mapoe, Damian de Allende, Bryan Habana; Elton Jantjies, Faf de Klerk; Warren Whiteley, Oupa Mohoje, Francois Louw; Lood de Jager, Eben Etzebeth; Julian Redelinghuys, Adriaan Strauss (capt), Tendai Mtawarira

Replacements: Bongi Mbonambi, Steven Kitshoff, Vincent Koch, Pieter-Steph du Toit, Jaco Kriel, Rudy Paige, Juan de Jongh, Jesse Kriel

ARGENTINA: Joaquin Tuculet; Santiago Cordero, Matias Orlando, Juan Martin Hernandez, Manuel Montero; Nicolas Sanchez, Martin Landajo; Facundo Isa, Juan Manuel Leguizamon, Pablo Matera; Tomas Lavanini, Matias Alemanno; Ramiro Herrera, Agustin Creevy (capt), Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro

Replacements: Julian Montoya, Felipe Arregui, Enrique Pieretto, Guido Petti, Javier Ortega Desio, Tomas Cubelli, Santiago Gonzalez Iglesias, Ramiro Moyano

Referee: Glen Jackson (NZL)

© AFP 2016

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