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Pollard sticks the boot into Argentina for third place

South Africa 24-13 Argentina

By Nick Purewal

Published 31/10/2015

First blood: JP Pietersen (14) celebrates scoring his side’s first try with team-mate Handre Pollard
First blood: JP Pietersen (14) celebrates scoring his side’s first try with team-mate Handre Pollard

Bryan Habana endured a wretched night in missing four fine chances to break Jonah Lomu's all-time World Cup try-scoring record despite South Africa seeing off Argentina 24-13.

The Springboks secured third place at London's Olympic Stadium thanks to tries from JP Pietersen and Eben Etzebeth, with Handre Pollard landing 14 points from the tee.

Habana botched a host of chances in what will surely be his last World Cup turn, the 32-year-old ending his glittering World Cup career tied on 15 tries with former New Zealand prodigy Lomu.

Argentina again won the hearts for their endless determination to attack from all quarters, but could not quite puncture the Springboks' measured defence.

Fly-half and captain on the night Nicolas Sanchez ended the tournament with 97 points, edging ahead of South Africa's Pollard with 93.

The Pumas' former Toulon playmaker will now most likely seize the golden boot as the top points scorer at this World Cup.

Habana could have had four tries in the first half alone. Instead, the 32-year-old became so gripped by white-line fever that he lost his famed finishing edge.

South Africa plundered their only score of the half immediately after Tomas Cubelli was sin-binned for a high tackle.

Habana's fellow wing Pietersen flew home on the right as the Springboks exploited their extra man, Pollard posting the conversion.

The Pumas recovered in style, attacking from everywhere, refusing to punt for position in favour of throwing width on the ball.

As against Australia in the semi-final, however, Argentina's over-exuberance allowed their opponents to dominate the territory.

South Africa would have been out of sight had Habana's finishing been up to scratch.

First Lucas Amorosino beat the Toulon speedster to a loose ball to deny Habana that World Cup record. Then Habana knocked on from Pollard's floated wide pass with the line at his mercy.

The hat-trick of fluffed chances came with Habana pulled down by Horacio Agulla after a clever infield chip had created another try-scoring opportunity.

The final insult came when Habana read Nicolas Sanchez's wide pass, only to miss the intercept by a fraction.

When the Toulon star was replaced by Jan Serfontein midway through the final quarter, so his chance to eclipse Lomu disappeared.

Argentina battered South Africa's 22 at the death, their industry and enterprise hugely deserving of a try. And finally it came, when prop Pablo Orlandi barrelled home.

Belfast Telegraph

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