Heyneke Meyer (Gallo Images)
Cape Town - Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer decided to keep continuity for the Springboks’ final Rugby World Cup Pool B match, against the USA at London’s Olympic Stadium on Wednesday.
The starting line-up shows only two changes from the team that played in the 34-16 victory over Scotland in Newcastle on Saturday.
As a result 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.
Kick-off is scheduled for 17:45 (SA time).
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.
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