Argentina 17-22 South Africa, Mendoza, Rugby Championship
Contepomi eyes improvement after defeat
ESPN Staff
August 24, 2013
Nicolas Sanchez tries to get past Duane Vermeulen © Getty Images

Argentina skipper Felipe Contepomi hailed his side's performance despite them losing 22-17 to South Africa in Mendoza on Saturday.

The Pumas' performance was a marked improvement on last weekend's showing which saw them crash to a record 73-13 loss in Johannesburg. Argentina battled valiantly against South Africa but eventually Morne Steyn's boot proved to be the difference between the two sides as he slotted 17 points to help his team maintain their 100% winning record in this year's Rugby Championship.

Contepomi was forced off injured in the second-half but he was delighted with his team's performance and said it was a "big step for us".

"Obviously the result is disappointing as we scored two tries and the try they scored was a bit unfortunate," Contepomi said. "But I think it was a great step forward for the team and we are happy with the way we played. The idea is to keep on growing and the results will come, some day they will arrive. Today was a big, big step for us, it was a good game and hopefully we can keep on improving throughout the tournament."

For South Africa, they will now travel to Australia to take on the Wallabies in round three of the competition and skipper Jean de Villiers was delighted to come away from Mendoza with the win.

"We expected a tough game and we didn't play well today," De Villiers said. "But credit must go to Argentina for the way they played, they didn't give us an opportunity to play an expensive game. So credit must go to them but we are happy with the win."

Argentina matched South Africa in most facets of the game with the Pumas' back-row impressive throughout. In the end it was the Pumas' ill-discipline which saw them grab defeat from the jaws of victory and De Villiers was pleased with his team's performance at the breakdown.

"The breakdown was a massive fight and we contested well there as did Argentina. We have to sharpen up in that area again but last year we drew this and this time luckily we won."

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