Johann van Graan (Gallo Images)
Johannesburg - The United States may be labelled as minnows when they take on giants South Africa, but the Springboks had to make plans to pierce the Eagles’ defences.
The two nations duel in a Rugby World Cup Pool B match in London on Wednesday.
Springbok assistant coach Johann van Graan believes the Americans are defensively astute and could make matters difficult for South Africa.
“We’ve had a good look at the Americans, and they are an excellent defensive team, they press hard from the outside on defence and we’ve made a few plans to counter that,” Van Graan said at a press conference in London on Tuesday.
“They have speed on the outside, they have a pack that really scrum well with some good moves in the lineouts. So we will have to be at our best to get past tomorrow’s match.”
The Springboks have come a long way since the humiliating 34-32 defeat to Japan in their opening match three weeks ago.
With victories over Samoa and Scotland, the Boks have recovered well from the Japan loss but will not let their guard down against the USA who are yet to record a victory at this year’s World Cup.
“After the first round it was pretty simple for us, we need to win every single match to get into the quarter-finals and we need to win by one point or more to get into the quarter-final and that is what we are looking to do,” Van Graan said.
“The Americans have played some decent rugby in this tournament... there are no weak teams in this competition.”
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