Boks go with strongest side

Date published: October 5 2015

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Heyneke Meyer has made just two injury-enforced changes to his South Africa team for their final World Cup pool game against the USA.

The Springboks will top Pool B with a win over the Eagles, and the Americans have named a virtually second string side with a clash against Japan still to come.

But Meyer has no intentions of resting any players on Wednesday, and 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.

South Africa: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Lwazi Mvovo, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Handrè Pollard, 9 Fourie du Preez (c), 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  
Replacements: 16 Schalk Brits, 17 Trevor Nyakane, 18 Coenie Oosthuizen, 19 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 20 Willem Alberts, 21 Rudy Paige, 22 Morné Steyn, 23 Jan Serfontein 

Date: Wednesday, October 7
Venue: Olympic Stadium, London
Kick-off: 16:45 local (15:45 GMT)
Referee: Pascal Gauzere (France)
Assistant Referees: Nigel Owens (Wales), Mike Fraser (New Zealand)
TMO: George Ayoub (Australia)

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