Burger to equal Bok RWC record

2015-10-06 10:22
Schalk Burger

London - Schalk Burger is set to equal former captain John Smit's South Africa record of 17 Rugby World Cup appearances after retaining his starting place for the Pool B match against the United States on Wednesday.

Burger will start on the openside flank in a forward pack containing just one change from the scrum that beat Scotland on the weekend, with Frans Malherbe replacing Jannie Du Plessis at tighthead for his first test start of 2015.

South Africa coach Heyneke Meyer made just one other change in his XV, with Lwazi Mvovo picked on the left wing for the injured JP Pietersen. Bryan Habana switched to the other wing.

Scrumhalf Fourie du Preez will lead the Springboks for the second time, retaining the captaincy after the 34-16 win over Scotland. Meyer called up inside back Morne Steyn to the reserves bench, giving him potentially his first cap for the tournament.

The Springboks have rebounded strongly since a shocking opening loss to Japan on Sept. 19, beating Samoa by 40 points before putting away Scotland.

"Wednesday's match against a much-improved U.S. team is a must-win for us if we want to progress to the quarterfinals, which is one of the reasons why we decided to go with continuity," Meyer said. "The performances against Samoa and Scotland were satisfactory, but we will have to make another step up."

The U.S. Eagles lost their opening game 26-16 to Samoa, and lost 39-16 to Scotland on Sept. 27.

With the short turnaround between the Eagles' last two matches, and with hopes of beating Japan in the last pool game, U.S. coach Mike Tolkin made 12 changes to face the Springboks.

South Africa-born scrumhalf Niku Kruger will make his World Cup debut and first appearance in the starting lineup for the United States, joining No. 10 Shalom Suniula in a new halfback combination.

"Niku and Shalom are a dynamic pair who have been playing within our system all year and know it well," Tolkin said. "It comes to a point in this tournament with a four-day rest where you have to use the whole squad. Every team that's been in this situation has had to do the same thing. We have to use the full squad and we're confident in this full squad."

Toulon-bound No. 8 Samu Manoa will lead the Eagles for the first time.

Teams

South Africa

15 Willie le Roux, 14 Bryan Habana, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Handre Pollard, 9 Fourie du Preez (capt), 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

Substitutes: 16 Schalk Brits, 17 Trevor Nyakane, 18 Coenie Oosthuizen, 19 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 20 Willem Alberts, 21 Rudy Paige, 22 Morne Steyn, 23 Jan Serfontein.

USA

15 Blaine Scully, 14 Brett Thompson, 13 Folau Niua, 12 Andrew Suniula, 11 Zach Test, 10 Shalom Suniula, 9 Niku Kruger, 8 Samu Manoa (captain), 7 John Quill, 6 Danny Barrett, 5 Matthew Trouville, 4 Louis Stanfill, 3 Chris Baumann, 2 Phil Thiel, 1 Oli Kilifi

Substitutes: 16 Joe Taufetee, 17 Zach Fenoglio, 18 Mate Moeakiola, 19 Titi Lamositele, 20 Cam Dolan, 21 Al McFarland, 22 Mike Petri, 23 Chris Wyles

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