Rugby Championship: Kurt-Lee Arendse’s hat-trick helps South Africa beat Australia, All Blacks win in Argentina


Kurt-Lee Arendse
Arendse was voted man of the match in Pretoria
South Africa (17) 43
Tries: Kurt-Lee Arendse (x3), Pieter-Steph du Toit, penalty try x2; Pens: Manie Libbok; Cons: Manie Libbok (x3); Drop-goal: 0
Australia: (5) 12
Tries: Marika Koroibete, Carter Gordon; Pens: 0; Cons: Carter Gordon; Drop-goal: 0

Eddie Jones’ return as Australia head coach ended in a chastening defeat as Kurt-Lee Arendse’s hat-trick led South Africa to an opening Rugby Championship victory in Pretoria.

Arendse’s tries either side of half-time were added to by Pieter-Steph du Toit late on and two penalty tries.

Overall there were few positives for Jones in his first match back in charge of the Wallabies since 2005, although they did score an early try through wing Marika Koroibete and debutant Carter Gordon crossed late on.

In the day’s later game, New Zealand cruised past Argentina 41-12 in Mendoza.

Australia took the lead when Koroibete powered over in the eighth minute after a swift passing move out wide.

South Africa hit back through a Manie Libbok penalty and rarely looked back thereafter.

Arendse went over after some scrappy build-up before driving through to complete the turnaround after an effective line-out on the half-hour mark. Libbok converted both tries.

Ten minutes after the break, Arendse grabbed his third try of the match, touching down in the corner after a video review for a possible forward pass by Lukhanyo Am.

Australian hooker David Parecki was sent to the sin bin after collapsing a maul as South Africa were awarded a penalty try, before Libbok was denied a fifth score after a knock-on.

Suliasi Vunivalu also received a yellow card for a deliberate knock-on, gifting South Africa a second penalty try, and there was still time for Du Toit to go over from close range.

Australia barely managed to enter the South African half in a dismal second-half showing from former England head coach Jones’ side, but Gordon ran clear late on to reduce the arrears.

“I’m really proud of the boys, it was a fantastic performance,” said South Africa captain Duane Vermeulen.

“We played to our strengths. We can still improve, it was not 100% our best performance, but I’m very happy with the result.”

New Zealand's Damian McKenzie
Damian McKenzie has played 40 times for the All Blacks

McKenzie impresses as All Blacks dominate Argentina

A flying start set New Zealand on their way to a comfortable victory over hosts Argentina, with fly-half Damian McKenzie making a strong case to be picked in Ian Foster’s World Cup squad.

The All Blacks scored three tries in the first 12 minutes and were 31-0 up at half-time as Dane Coles, Ardie Savea, Jordie Barrett, Rieko Ioane, Aaron Smith, Beauden Barrett and debutant wing Emoni Narawa all crossed.

McKenzie’s kicking game was wayward, landing only three of his seven conversion attempts having been picked ahead of Richie Mo’unga.

But his playmaking ability stood out in his first Test since 2021, particularly his ability to put others into space.

Argentina were under immense pressure from the start, giving away numerous penalties, with only tries from prop Lucio Sordoni and hooker Agustin Creevy to show for their efforts.

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