Meyer keeps winning formula to face USA

Springbok winger Bryan Habana is three tries away from equaling Jonah Lomu's most tries in World Cup Rugby. *Photo: Annette van Schalkwyk.

JOHANNESBURG – The starting line-up shows only two changes from the team that played in the 34-16 victory over Scotland in Newcastle on Saturday.

Frans Malherbe will start his first match of the season for South Africa while Rudy Paige could make his Test debut off the bench against the USA.

Malherbe comes in at tighthead prop for Jannie du Plessis in the only change to the pack. The backline shows only one personnel change as well, at wing where Lwazi Mvovo takes over from JP Pietersen, with Bryan Habana moving over to the right wing.

Pietersen was not considered this week due to injury, while a decision was taken to give Du Plessis and Victor Matfield time to get over some niggles due to the short turn-around after the Scotland match.

Joining Paige on the bench is Morné Steyn, who both could get their first taste of Rugby World Cup action this year. Schalk Brits and Coenie Oosthuizen are also back amongst the reserves this week.

“Wednesday’s match against a much-improved USA team is a must-win for us if we want to progress to the quarter-finals which is one of the reasons why we decided to go with continuity,” said Meyer.

“We also have a number of players who returned to action from injuries recently and it’s important to give them game-time against an opponent who will physically challenge us this week.

“The performances against Samoa and Scotland were satisfactory, but we will have to make another step up against the USA.”

Meyer said it is pleasing to see Paige and Steyn in the match-23 for the first time during the tournament, while Mvovo, Oosthuizen and Brits also deserved another run.

“All five of them have worked incredibly hard over the last couple of months and deserve this opportunity – it’s now in their hands to make the most of it,” said the Springbok coach.

After the win against Scotland and Samoa, the Springboks have moved up to fourth on the world rankings.

The Springbok team to face the USA in London

15           Willie le Roux

14           Bryan Habana

13           Jesse Kriel

12           Damian De Allende

11           Lwazi Mvovo

10           Handré Pollard

9              Fourie du Preez (captain)

8              Duane Vermeulen

7              Schalk Burger (vice-captain)

6              Francois Louw

5              Lood de Jager

4              Eben Etzebeth

3              Frans Malherbe

2              Bismarck du Plessis

1              Tendai Mtawarira


16           Schalk Brits

17           Trevor Nyakane

18           Coenie Oosthuizen

19           Pieter-Steph du Toit

20           Willem Alberts

21           Rudy Paige

22           Morné Steyn

23           Jan Serfontein

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