Heyneke Meyer
Meyer's team are a win away from the last eight. Getty Images

Two-time world champions South Africa can complete their remarkable turnaround and reach the quarter-finals if they can overcome minnows USA at the Olympic Stadium.

Where to watch South Africa vs USA

South Africa vs USA kicks off at 4:45pm BST on Wednesday 6 October. Live coverage is available on ITV HD and BBC Radio Five Live.


Having reached their lowest ebb in defeat to Japan, the highlight of an increasingly predictable pool phase, South Africa have responded the only way they know how. Victory over Samoa was followed with a typically dogged and physical win over Scotland which puts the Springboks on the brink of the last eight.

Up against a spirited yet winless USA side there remains only one question for Heyneke Meyer's team; can they qualify for the quarter-finals as group winners or behind either Scotland or Japan? Despite the game coming just four days after overcoming the Scots, Meyer has made just two alterations with Jannie du Plessis and JP Pietersen the players missing out.

The Americans have been similarly ambitious with their own team selection as they seek to add a victory to their two encouraging showings in the pool. Having run Samoa and Scotland close (at least in the first half), Mike Tolkin has rested a handful of players ahead of their big day against Japan, who are still chasing a last eight berth. The reality is their performances will only have enhanced the profile of the sport state-side, but that could be stifled by the two-time world champions.

A bonus point win for South Africa means they will qualify top of Pool C and play the loser of Ireland and France's encounter in the last eight. Victory without scoring four tries would allow Scotland back into the picture, but they would need a healthy win over Samoa to stand any chance of finishing top. Japan are meanwhile waiting for slip ups from either side. A win for USA meanwhile would see them go fourth, above Samoa, heading into their final matches.


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; 1. Tendai Mtawarira, 2. Bismarck Du Plessis, 3. Frans Malherbe, 4. Eben Etzebeth, 5. Lodewyk De Jager, 6. Francois Louw, 7. Schalk Burger, 8. Duane Vermeulen.

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.

USA: 15. Blaine Scully, 14. Brett Thompson, 13. Folau Niua, 12. Andrew Suniula, 11. Zach Test, 10. Shalom Suniula, 9. Niku Kruger; 1. Oli Kilifi, 2. Phil Thiel, 3. Chris Baumann, 4. Louis Stanfill
5. Matthew Trouville, 6. Danny Barrett, 7. John Quill, 8. Samu Manoa

Replacements: 16. Joe Taufetee, 17. Zach Fenoglio, 18. Mate Moeakiola, 19. Titi Lamositele, 20. Cam Dolan, 21. Al McFarland, 22. Mike Petri, 23. Chris Wyles.

What the coaches say

Heyneke Meyer (South Africa): "You have to stay humble and respect every single opponent. They've shown they are a world-class team, they're very difficult to play against, very physical, a lot of big, strong forwards and great runners in midfield.

"First, we have to focus on our strengths and weaknesses. We want to have some form of continuity. A lot of guys coming into the World Cup haven't played a lot of rugby. A lot of combinations haven't played together for quite some time. We don't want to look past this game. It's a must-win for us and it's going to be very tough."

"Because it's a short turnaround, there's not much time to train and prepare, so why not go with some sort of continuity but with some fresh guys on the bench."

Chris Wyles
Saracens' Wyles is on the bench after two appearances for the USA in the tournament. Getty Images

Mike Tolkin (USA): "It comes to a point in this tournament with a four-day rest where you have to use the whole squad. Every team that's been in this situation has had to do the same thing. We have to use the full squad and we're confident in this full squad.

"Overall these guys continue to work hard and it's amazing that we've been together three months. The morale's good, the work ethic's very good. We're just disappointed we didn't get those wins (against Samoa and Scotland). We knew each World Cup game is a challenge but we also felt that we could win.

"Part of it is experience. For a lot of players who haven't played full-time it's difficult to come in after three months and have a high-pressure game after high-pressure game. They've shown what they're capable of during a lot of games. When we've shown sound decision-making and we've gone after it. We've shown good athleticism, good electricity, we've shown really good energy at times."

Other fixtures

8pm: Namibia vs Georgia (Sandy Park)