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Springboks Sealing The Deal

With only four days to recover, the Springboks have their final Pool B fixture already well in their sights, and just like Australia and Wales, whom South Africa will likely face in the quarter-finals as it stands, are now in a must-win situation here on out.

Yes, there are only four games left until the winners of Rugby World Cup 2015 are crowned and the Springboks have started their climb to the summit along with a few of the other bigger unions.

Our focus however is on the Green & Gold of South Africa who faces the USA on Wednesday at the Olympic Stadium in London.

Heyneke Meyer has only made 2 changes to his starting line-up for the match against the Eagles, which were both injury forced.

Lwazi Mvovo takes over from JP Pietersen and Frans Malherbe replaces Jannie du Plessis in a side that has been kept together for continuity. Only four players, Bryan Habana, Fourie du Preez, Schalk Burger and Bismarck du Plessis have previously played in a Test against the USA.

This was surely not the ideal plan before the World Cup started, however as we all know by now, Japan turned the South African “applecart” upside down and looking back now, for the better!

As mentioned before, no team in the history of the RWC has ever lost a match and gone on to win the coveted Webb Ellis Cup, but the Bok Coach is determined that this could change, “There are so many examples of comebacks throughout the world that people said can’t happen.

“They said the mile would never be run in under four minutes; now everybody does it. I’m a very, very positive person. I believe everything is possible, and I’ve been in situations where I’ve lost every single game and come back and won trophies. The guys know it’s possible. A lot of these guys have done it before.”

Meyer however is understandably keen not to get too ahead of himself. Every game for the Springboks is a World Cup final, he says, which is why, despite the debilitating four-day turnaround, he has decided to stick with 13 of the starting 15 that beat Scotland on Saturday for the physical challenge of the USA Eagles.

“We don’t look past this game. And I mean it,” Meyer said, recognising his team will win their pool with a bonus point victory at the Olympic Stadium.

The Coach also welcomes back an old favourite in Morné Steyn to the bench, which should see him get a run out in his first test for 13 months and also his 60th Bok cap. He is South Africa’s most-capped flyhalf with 57 Tests in that position and his eight career tries is also a Springbok record for a flyhalf. Morné needs 12 points to reach 700 points in Tests for South Africa.

“I never had to keep him positive. He’s been in great form and he’s been an example to everyone, helping other guys with their kicking. He deserves his chance.”

Uncapped Rudy Paige is also set to make his Springboks debut off the bench, ensuring that every player in the 31-man squad should see action in the tournament before the knock-out stages.

After the Springbok tour to New Zealand in 1981, South Africa visited New York to play a historical first Test against the USA. For security reasons the arrangements for the match were shrouded in secrecy. The Test was played on a polo field at Glenville, New York. The only people who attended were officials, a few media people, the substitutes and security personnel. As a result the Test was played before the smallest attendance (30) at a Test match anywhere in the world. South Africa won 38-7.

Only two Tests were played since, both won by South Africa and the record against the USA is standing at 3 matches played and 3 won with 145 points scored by the Boks and only 42 against them.

The most points scored by the Springboks in a match against the USA were 64 in their match during the 2007 RWC in France when they won 64-15 and nine tries were scored by the Springboks on that occasion.

Looking at the stats one has to wonder how USA are motivating them for this match or are they just going to enjoy the moment before heading back home.

This should be a try fest for the Boks and just the injection they need before their 10 day long break before the quarter-finals get underway. We are calling a Springbok victory by no less than 25 points on Wednesday.

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