South Africa pick strong side for USA tussle

Meyer has made just two changes, both due to injuries, to the starting line-up from the side that defeated Scotland 34-16 in their previous game in Newcastle last Saturday.


Tighthead prop Frans Malherbe replaces Jannie du Plessis for his first start of the year, while speedster Lwazi Mvovo comes in for JP Pietersen, with Bryan Habana moving over to the right wing.

Lock Victor Matfield, who did not play against Scotland, has been given more time to rest his 38-year-old body with an eye on the quarter-finals.

There are two new names on the bench as uncapped scrumhalf Rudy Paige and experienced flyhalf Morne Steyn both could get their first taste of tournament action.

Hooker Schalk Brits and prop Coenie Oosthuizen are also back amongst the reserves.

“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,” Meyer told reporters.”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.”

Meyer says he is looking for the complete package in terms of performance from his side after their shock loss to Japan was followed by workmanlike victories over Samoa and Scotland.

“The performances against Samoa and Scotland were satisfactory, but we will have to make another step up against the USA.” Team: 1-Tendai Mtawarira, 2-Bismarck du Plessis, 3-Frans Malherbe, 4-Eben Etzebeth, 5-Lood de Jager, 6-Francois Louw, 7-Schalk Burger, 8-Duane Vermeulen, 9-Fourie du Preez (captain), 10-Handre Pollard, 11-Lwazi Mvovo, 12-Damian de Allende, 13-Jesse Kriel, 14-Bryan Habana, 15-Willie le Roux.

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.

(Editing by xxx)