Preview: South Africa vs. USA -- Springboks look to wrap up Pool B

Victory over Scotland has put the Springboks in control of Pool B, and Heyneke Meyer's side will be determined to sew the group up with another win over the USA. Meyer has compared the task facing South Africa as they bid to win the Rugby World Cup having lost their opening game to Roger Bannister's four-minute mile. The problem for the Springboks is they have only had four days to recover from their victory in Newcastle. The USA will be hoping to capitalise on any rustiness as they target at least one win from their own pool campaign. It's a tough ask for a team who lost both of their matches so far, but the Eagles can be relied upon to give it a go.

Team news

Despite their tight turnaround South Africa have made only two changes in personnel to the side that beat Scotland. Frans Malherbe comes in for Jannie du Plessis at tighthead prop, while Lwazi Mvovo starts on the left wing, with Bryan Habana moving over to the right wing and JP Pietersen dropping out of the matchday 23. Fourie du Preez captains the side with Morne Steyn in the squad for the first time this tournament. Rudy Paige could make his Test and World Cup debut off the bench.

Eagles coach Mike Tolkin has rung the changes for their penultimate Pool B game, making 12 of them in all. Only Phil Thiel, Samu Manoa and Blaine Scully are retained from the starting XV that lost to Scotland in Leeds nine days ago. Manoa captains the side, with Louis Stanfill, Matthew Trouville, Niku Kruger, Zach Test and Andrew Suniula all set to make their first appearances of the World Cup.

South Africa: Willie Le Roux, Bryan Habana, Jesse Kriel, Damian De Hollande, Lwazi Mvovo, Handre Pollard, Fourie du Preez (captain); Tendai Mtawarira, Bismarck du Plessis, Frans Malherbe, Eben Etzebeth, Lodewyk De Jager, Francois Louw, Schalk Burger, Duane Vermeulen

Replacements: Schalk Brits, Trevor Nyakane, Coenie Oosthuizen, Pieter-Steph Du Toit, Willem Alberts, Rudy Paige, Morne Steyn, Jan Serfontein

USA: Blaine Scully, Brett Thompson, Folau Nua, Andrew Suniula, Zach Test, Shalom Suniula, Niku Kruga; Samu Manoa (captain), John Quill, Danny Barrett, Matthew Trouville, Louis Stanfill, Chris Baumann, Phil Thiel, Oli Kilifi

Replacements: Joe Taufetee, Zach Fenoglio, Mate Moeakiola, Titi Lamositele, Cam Dolan, Al McFarland, Mike Petri, Chris Wyles

Key head-to-head

Manu Manoa has been the USA's biggest attacking threat in their opening two games, and he will quite literally lead the team on Wednesday having been named captain. However, he will face a sterner test than he has encountered so far when he comes up against Duane Vermeulen at the Olympic Stadium. The experience and Test know-how in the Springboks back row should give them the edge, so John Quill and Danny Barrett will have their work cut out as they try to help Manoa put the USA on the front foot. It could prove a long afternoon.

Key stats

*Rudy Paige could become the first South African to make his Test debut at a World Cup since Schalk Burger in 2003.

*Burger will make his 17th World Cup appearance against the USA, equalling John Smit's South African record.

*If he comes off the bench prop Mate Moeakiola will become the third oldest player, at 37, to represent the USA at a World Cup.


South Africa, who are very much back on track at this Rugby World Cup, are overwhelming favourites at 1/100 with Unibet. But if you fancy a shock that would top even Japan's famous win over the Springboks, you can get the USA at 35/1.


A bit of rain throughout the day in east London, but expect a dry, cloudy evening with temparatures in the low teens when kick off comes around at 8pm.


South Africa's disastrous start against Japan is a distant memory now and they can be expected to finish their pool campaign with the win that secure them Pool B bragging rights. The USA have had 10 days to prepare for this game and will be no pushovers, but sending out a reserve side suggests they are targeting their final group game against Japan for that illusive win.