Pollard shines as South Africa clinch Rugby Championship

Pollard shines as South Africa clinch Rugby Championship

A Handre Pollard-inspired South Africa warmed up for the World Cup in superb style by beating Argentina 46-13 in the southern hemisphere's Rugby Championship in Salta on Saturday to claim their first major global trophy for 10 years.

Their ruthless dismantling of the Pumas followed New Zealand's shock 47-26 loss to Australia, with Steve Hansen criticising his world champions for "dumb footy" in their heavy Perth defeat.

'They train hard, they play hard and they want to win games and for all the work we do off the field it comes down to a Handre Pollard against a Richie Mo'unga or a Duane Vermeulen against a Kieran Read, and the players have taken that on'. South Africa last won the Rugby Championship, then known as the Tri Nations, in 2009.

Fly-half Pollard notched two tries and kicked three conversions and five penalties in a bonus-point victory for South Africa, who led 24-13 at half-time.

The All Blacks finished third in the four-team competition, with Australia claiming second. The Springboks will wrap up their preparations for the Rugby World Cup with a rematch against the Pumas at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria on Saturday in their Farewell Test.

"It's a great feeling for us to walk away with the title, but in the end we must see it as a stepping stone for us going into the World Cup", he said.

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Erasmus added that winning the Rugby Championship had been a reward for the hard work the players had put in, but said the performance had been just as important.

Pollard got the visitors up and running with a long-range penalty in the ninth minute, and they edged ahead five minutes later following a driving maul from a line-out which saw hooker Mbonambi dot the ball down.

They now turn their attentions to a return match with the Pumas before they depart for Japan on August 31.

After Pollard scored his second try in the 53rd minute, outstanding handling and passing produced tries by wingers Makazole Mapimpi and Cheslin Kolbe.

The Springboks delivered a clinical attacking performance and a powerful forward display to outsmart and outmuscle their South American hosts at the high altitude venue in Salta.

Pollard kicked an early second half penalty and then scored his second try even though the Springboks were temporarily down to 14 men with Faf de Klerk sin-binned.