Habana special: Bryan Habana scores his first try

PARIS, 14 October - South Africa booked a place in their second IRB Rugby World Cup final with a 37-13 victory over Argentina.

The Pumas initially fought back from a 24-6 deficit at half time but could not prevent their world cup dream ending with their sensational run to the last four, as tries from Fourie du Preez, Danie Rossouw and two from Bryan Habana were augmented by the unerring boot of Percy Montgomery, who kicked 17 points.

South Africa will meet defending champions England at Stade de France on 20 October, with both vying for their second Webb Ellis Cup.

Argentina began the match strongly, but after seven minutes of a ding-dong kicking exchange, the Pumas' first attempt to pass through the Springbok ranks ended with Du Preez intercepting a Felipe Contepomi pass and sprinting 70 metres to score only South Africa's second world cup semi-final try. Montgomery split the middle for a 7-0 lead, adding a penalty after Felipe Contepomi had converted a penalty of his own.

With the scores at 10-3, neither side made a breakthrough until Felipe Contepomi slotted a booming penalty from 60 metres to get within four points on 30 minutes. But just moments later, South Africa spread the ball the width of the pitch to Habana, who chipped and chased to power over the line well out of the grasp of the pursuing Horacio Agulla. Montgomery converted, and again after Rossouw added a late try to make it 24-6. 

Four minutes of the second half had gone when Argentina hit back. Turning over the ball after a lineout on the South Africa 22, they spread it the width of the pitch for Manuel Contepomi to stumble over the line and just touch down before the ball slipped from his grasp. His brother Felipe converted, giving Argentina hope at 24-13.

With 10 minutes to go, Montgomery kicked his second penalty to make it 27-13 and all but put the match out of Argentina's reach, before Habana put the seal on the victory with his second try, dashing clear after intercepting a wayward pass.

Both teams ended the match with 14 men after yellow cards for Juan Smith and Felipe Contepomi minutes before the Springbok celebrations began.

RNS pr/dk