A 124-year record
in which the Pumas took on provincial invitation sides with the test match being against the Junior Springboks at Ellis Park.
The gauchos learnt quickly though, and shocked what was effectively South Africa’s B side by winning the final of the tour 11-6 – a match in which future leading commentator Hugh Bladen played fly half for the Junior Boks.
The surviving members of the 1965 side were present at the late Van Heerden’s old home ground of Kings Park last weekend to witness a victory Argentinian rugby followers have dreamt of for years.
Imhoff wrote his name into the history books with his hat-trick and, fittingly, his father, José Luis Imhoff, who was a member of the ’65 touring side but did not play in the test, was there to witness the great deed.
Touchingly, the two generations – old men in the stands and young boys on the field – saluted each other afterwards by singing the Pumas’ song, which, thanks to an explanation provided by a fellow rugby writer in Buenos Aires, is typically bawdy, as rugby ditties are, and better left in Spanish!
No telling of Argentina’s rugby history would be complete without recording that they have once before beat the Springboks – but not as the Pumas.
In 1982, a team playing in the guise of South America or the Jaguars (Argentina in all but name), beat the Boks 21-12 in Bloemfontein after having lost 50-18 in Pretoria the week before.
The great fly half Hugo Porta, who later had a stint as Argentina’s consul to South Africa, scored all the points.