Siya Kolisi. (Photo Juan Jose Gasparini/Gallo Images)
Win and hope the resurgent Wallabies take revenge on the All Blacks.
That would be the ideal comparison for the Springboks in their quest to snatch the Rugby Championship title from their old foes.
The Boks’ 36-20 win in the Argentine capital means they are on 14 log points with the New Zealanders, who are only in first position due to a superior points difference of 13.
Yet this situation almost did not materialize.
The All Blacks believed the Argentinians had done them a favor in Buenos Aires on Saturday night before the magical Makazole and Malcolm ripped the script up to death.
In the 78th minute of a thriller, the Springboks were stuck with a four-to-two count, which would put them out of the running for a bonus point.
It would have all felt very empty after the South Africans built up a 22-6 lead at halftime, more importantly with a 3 try-to-nil lead.
But the Mapimpi-Marx combination, which led to the score that restored the Boks’ three-try buffer, proved decisive.
“Our mentality was to get maximum points. The momentum changed in the second half, but when we were able to keep the Pumas from our half and force some attacking penalties, the boys always believed,” said an enthusiastic Bok skipper, Siya Kolisi .
“Our game plan allows us to have opportunities like this and Malcolm and Makazole saw it and took it. In the last few games that was a difference. We were able to take those opportunities. Nothing has changed in terms of how we play , we have just now been able to capitalize.”
Should Australia, who can still win the title with a full-house win, be unable to topple the New Zealanders in their fortress Eden Park but prevent them from getting a bonus point, a five-log win would points for the South Africans are needed to claim the title.
If both the Boks and All Blacks win and finish on the same number of log points, the points difference determines the title.
To highlight the competitiveness of this year’s tournament, Argentina is still mathematically in the race but would need a bonus points win over the Boks, while preventing their hosts in Durban from taking bonus points and Australia winning alone. without an additional log point.
The All Blacks should also be shut out completely.