Rudy Paige (Gallo Images)
London - South African supporters could catch a glimpse of the future if the only uncapped member of their Rugby World Cup squad gets a run-out against the United States in their Pool B clash at the Olympic Stadium on Wednesday.
Bulls scrumhalf Rudy Paige has been named on the bench for the first time and should the game situation allow it, is certain to get a first run-out in a Springbok jersey.
The Boks need to win the match to ensure they progress to the quarter-finals and with captain Fourie du Preez starting at scrumhalf, Paige will probably see action if the Springboks are comfortable going into the last quarter.
With Du Preez and Ruan Pienaar ahead of him in the pecking order, Paige says he has been happy to bide his time but knows that opportunities at scrumhalf will open up after this World Cup, with the other two contenders both into their 30s.
"It has not been a frustrating wait because I have two world-class number nines in front of me and I knew I would get a chance at some stage," he told reporters.
"Fourie and Ruan have got two different types of games. Fourie's decision-making is world-class and Ruan has a great kicking game.
"Taking bits from both of them and seeing how they do things under pressure, hopefully I can apply that to my game."
Paige has not played a competitive match since the Bulls' loss to the Cheetahs in their final Super Rugby game in June, but the 26-year-old says that will not add to his nerves.
"There would be nerves even if I played two weeks back, that's just the way I am," he said. "For me it will be about trying to suppress those nerves and just focus on the rugby."
Paige's speed across the ground is one of his biggest assets and he knows that the onus is on him to capitalise on the Boks' strength in the pack.
"It's fortunate that we have such a big and impressive pack of forwards, but obviously it is just one half of the job that is done by them, I still have to do my part in getting quick ball to the backs."
This is another step forward in his career.
"For me it is just about the team, if I get two seconds or 15 minutes it doesn't matter. As long as the team wins and we get the right result to progress to the quarter-finals," he said.
Wednesday’s clash at the Olympic Stadium 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 (captain), 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Schalk Burger, 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