Cape Town - Handre Pollard scored 31 points as the Springboks thrashed Argentina 46-13 in Salta on Saturday to win the Rugby Championship for the first time.
As it happened: Argentina v South Africa
The Springboks last won a competition in 2009 when they finished first in the Tri Nations, the forerunner of the Rugby Championship.
Flyhalf Pollard notched two tries and kicked three conversions and five penalties in a bonus-point victory for South Africa, who led 24-13 at half-time.
South Africa finished with 12 points in a competition reduced to one round from the traditional two because of the World Cup in Japan from September 20.
Australia, who stunned world champions New Zealand 47-26 earlier on Saturday, came second with eight points followed by the All Blacks with six and the Pumas with two.
Argentina collapsed in the second half after holding their own during the opening 40 minutes until a Pollard try gave South Africa an 11-point lead at the break.
The nations meet again next Saturday, this time in Pretoria, in a warm-up international for the World Cup.
It took the Pumas just 100 seconds to take the lead through a Santiago Cordero try on a clear, late southern hemisphere winter afternoon before a sell-out 22 190 crowd in the northwestern city.
Cordero gathered a perfectly weighted cross kick from Nicolas Sanchez and held off Makazole Mapimpi to dive over in the corner.
Sanchez converted and Argentina could not have wished for a better start as they sought to defeat the Springboks in South America for the third time in four seasons.
Pollard reduced the deficit via a ninth-minute penalty and the visitors went in front soon afterwards when Bongi Mbonambi scored off a rolling maul after a lineout.
It was a particularly pleasing score for the Springboks, who have struggled this season to turn mauls into tries.
The opening half then became a goal-kicking battle between playmakers Pollard and Sanchez with the South African kicking three penalties and converting his try in the final minute of the half.
Sanchez had fewer opportunities and made the most of them, slotting the two penalties to keep the Pumas in touch for most of the half.
But the Pollard try and conversion gave South Africa a 24-13 half-time advantage after a half in which the major difference between the teams was the scrums.
Argentina have struggled for some years in an aspect of the game where they used to be world class and there was no sign of any improvement in Salta.
The Pumas conceded a number of scrum penalties despite the return after a shoulder injury of star hooker Agustin Creevy and they backpedalled several times at the Estadio Padre Ernesto Martearena.
Pollard kicked an early second half penalty and then scored his second try even though the Springboks were temporarily down to 14 men with Faf de Klerk sin-binned.
As the match entered the final quarter, South Africa held a 32-13 lead against opponents who could not translate spells of pressure into points.
Clinical South Africa scored further tries through Mapimpi and Cheslin Kolbe and Pollard converted both for an unexpectedly comfortable triumph.
Try: Santiago Cordero
Conversion: Nicolas Sanchez
Penalties: Sanchez (2)
Tries: Bongi Mbonambi, Handre Pollard (2), Makazole Mapimpi, Cheslin Kolbe
Conversions: Pollard (3)
Penalties: Pollard (5)
15 Emiliano Boffelli, 14 Santiago Cordero, 13 Matias Moroni, 12 Jeronimo de la Fuente, 11 Ramiro Moyano, 10 Nicolas Sanchez, 9 Tomas Cubelli, 8 Facundo Isa, 7 Javier Ortega Desio, 6 Pablo Matera (captain), 5 Marcos Kremer, 4 Matias Alemanno; 3 Juan Figallo, 2 Agustin Creevy, 1 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro
Substitutes: 16 Julian Montoya, 17 Mayco Vivas, 18 Santiago Medrano, 19 Guido Petti, 20 Tomas Lezana, 21 Gonzalo Bertanou, 22 Benjamin Urdapilleta, 23 Joaquin Tuculet
15 Willie le Roux, 14 Cheslin Kolbe, 13 Lukhanyo Am, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Makazole Mapimpi, 10 Handre Pollard, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 6 Kwagga Smith, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Trevor Nyakane, 2 Bongi Mbonambi, 1 Tendai Mtawarira
Substitutes: 16 Malcolm Marx, 17 Steven Kitshoff, 18 Frans Malherbe, 19 RG Snyman, 20 Francois Louw, 21 Herschel Jantjies, 22 Frans Steyn, 23 Jesse Kriel