The Springboks have made some adjustments to their attack ahead of their final pool match against the USA, reports JON CARDINELLI in London.
The Boks will be the favourites to win the match at the Olympic Stadium on Wednesday. Heyneke Meyer has selected his strongest available starting XV in an attempt to build some momentum before the play-offs. Meanwhile, Meyer’s opposite number, Mike Tolkin, has made 12 changes to the USA starting side.
Yet, the Boks aren’t taking the USA lightly. On Tuesday, forwards and attack coach Johann van Graan admitted that a few tweaks and adjustments have been made to South Africa’s strategy.
The Eagles are yet to win a game at this tournament, but they have caused some problems for teams like Samoa and Scotland with their stifling defence.
‘They’ve really impressed me with their speed off the line and the way they've closed down the space of an attacking team,’ said Van Graan. ‘I can’t reveal too much about what we plan to do on Wednesday evening, but I can confirm that we’ve made adjustments. The team may also have to adapt to the situation on the day.’
The USA put the Scotland attack under pressure during the initial stages of the clash in Leeds on 27 September. Scotland’s superior fitness eventually told in the second stanza and they went on to claim a 39-16 victory.
Meyer hopes that his strongest combination will make a statement in the first 40 minutes of the clash at the Olympic Stadium. If the result is in the bank by half-time, Meyer may empty his bench and give some fringe players an extended run.
‘We’ve done well over the past two weeks, but the pressure to perform is still there,’ said Bok captain Fourie du Preez. ‘We need to show the same desperation to succeed as we did against Samoa and Scotland.
‘You need all 23 players to contribute these days, and I have faith that our bench will respond to the pressure if we don’t start well and need to pull through in the second half. That said, we’d love to be in a position where we have a comfortable lead going into half-time.’