The Pampas XV managed to fend off a desperate second-half fightback by the Free State XV to secure a thrilling 38-32 Vodacom Cup victory in Stellenbosch on Saturday.
The Pampas produced a magnificent first-half display which was ultimately enough to secure them a well-deserved victory.
The home team dominated the first half and ran in four tries to take a comfortable 28-10 lead into halftime. They conceded yellow cards in both halves, but still managed to beat a Free State side who failed to pitch up in the first 40 minutes.
The Argentinians were deadly on the counter attack, combining this with some rock solid defence and a superior physical performance in the contact situation.
Elgar Watts put the visitors in the lead early on with a penalty. Free State had the upper hand in the battle for territory with the hosts conceding a string of penalties inside their 22. Their captain, Mariano Galarza, was eventually sent off after repeated infringements at the breakdown.
Some poor defence by the visitors, coupled with some superb running lines by the hosts, resulted in two quick tries, the first one by left wing Manuel Montero and the second by the No 4 lock Rodrigo Bruno.
Free State had no answers in the first half and struggled to penetrate the Argentinians' defence.
However, they staged a spirited comeback in the second half where they regained possession through the forwards and used driving mauls to force the Pampas into submission.
Flanker Boom Prinsloo scored a hat-trick in the second half, but got injured in his last try and had to leave the field after that.
Free State were trailing 27-28 with 18 minutes to play, but they conceded a crucial try four minutes later which all but ended they hopes of a victory.
Pampas flyhalf Santiago Gonzalez Iglesias converted a penalty to take the game beyond the reach of the visitors, but the men from Bloemfontein fought back in the last quarter to score a consolation try on the brink of fulltime.
PAMPAS 38 (28): Tries: Manuel Montero (2), Rodrigo Bruno, Tomas Cubelli, Facundo Barrea (2). Penalties: Santiago Gonzalez Iglesias. Conversions: Iglesias (5).
FREE STATE 32 (10): Tries: Boom Prinsloo (3), Sethu Tom, Nico Scheepers. Conversions: Elgar Watts (2). Penalties: Watts.