South Africa make two changes for USA

Rudy Paige could make his Test debut for South Africa

South Africa’s head coach Heyneke Meyer has named his Springbok team to play the USA at London’s Olympic Stadium on Wednesday and made just two changes to the starting side that beat Scotland.

Meyer has named a near full strength team for the clash against the USA but with a nine day turnaround ahead of the quarter-finals – should South Africa qualify – the Springboks should have enough time to recover from minor injuries.

Bulls scrumhalf Rudy Paige is in line to make his Springbok Test debut if he comes off the replacements bench while in the starting line up Frans Malherbe will start his first match of the season.

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 Morne 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.

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 (c) , 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

Replacements: , 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

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