Following the strong win over Scotland this past weekend, the Springboks are forced into a quick four-day turnaround to play their next Pool B game against the USA at London’s Olympic Park. Here are 16 facts you need to know ahead of the big clash:
• 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: P: 3; W: 3; L: 0; PF: 145; PA: 42. Win%: 100%.
• The most points scored by the Springboks in a match against the USA were 64 in their match during the 2007 RWC in France. The score was 64-15 and nine tries were scored by the Springboks on that occasion.
• The total Test caps for the Springbok starting line-up is 623. There are 262 caps in the backline with 361 caps amongst the forwards. On the bench there are a further 171 caps.
• Rudy Paige could make his Springbok debut from the bench. His Springbok number will be 869.
• Bryan Habana will extend his record as the most-capped Springbok wing, with 112 caps in this position. He is the most experienced Springbok backline player with 113 caps and only Victor Matfield (125) has played in more Test matches for South Africa.
• If he scores a try he will extend his own record of 61 Test tries for South Africa. Bryan also holds the Springbok record for most career tries (12) in RWC tournaments. Jonah Lomu of New Zealand is the RWC record holder with 15 career tries.
• Bryan Habana needs one try to equal the world record for most Test tries as a wing. The current world record holder is Daisuke Ohata from Japan with 62 tries in the wing position.
• Habana needs one try against the USA to equal Ray Mordt’s record of three career tries against the USA. Should he score the try he will also equal Percy Montgomery’s career record of 15 career points against the USA.
• Schalk Burger will play in his 76th Test as a flank, South Africa’s most capped Springbok flank. Saturday’s Test will be his 17th RWC Test to join John Smit as the most capped Springbok in RWC. He is also the Springbok record holder for most tries as a flank (14) as well as a forward (16).
• Bismarck du Plessis is the Springbok record holder for most tries (10) in Tests as a hooker.
• Morné Steyn could play in his 60th Test if used as a substitute. 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 kicked six successful conversions in the match against Namibia in the 2011 RWC. This is a Springbok record that he shares with Ruan Pienaar who also kicked six conversions in the same match. Morné needs 12 points to reach 700 points in Tests for South Africa.
• Francois Louw will play in his 40th Test for South Africa while Trevor Nyakane could play in his 20th if used from the bench.
• Only four players, Bryan Habana, Fourie du Preez, Schalk Burger and Bismarck du Plessis have previously played in a Test against the USA.
• The referee is Pascal Gaüzère of France. He made his professional debut in November 2010, when he was the match referee in a Test between Georgia and Canada. It will be his third Test involving South Africa. The previous two matches were both won by South Africa. That was in 2013 against Italy and Samoa played in Durban and Pretoria respectively.
• The Stadium at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park is the venue for the Springbok’s last pool match against the USA. It has a capacity of 80,000 seats, making it the third largest stadium in England behind Wembley and Twickenham. The Olympic Stadium, as it is more commonly known, is home to the West Ham United Football Club. One more RWC match, the so called Bronze Final, will be played at this venue.
Here are the teams:
Springboks – 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Bryan Habana, 13 Jesse Kriel, 12 Damian de Allende, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Handré Pollard, 9 Fourie du Preez (c), 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Schalk Burger, 6 Francois Louw, 5 Lood de Jager, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 3 Frans Malherbe, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Beast Mtawarira.
Subs: 16 Schalk Brits, 17 Trevor Nyakane, 18 Coenie Oosthuizen, 19 Pieter-Steph du Toit, 20 Willem Alberts, 21 Rudy Paige, 22 Morné 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, 8 Samu Manoa (c), 7 John Quill, 6 Danny Barrett, 5 Matthew Trouville, 4 Louis Stanfill, 3 Chris Baumann, 2 Phil Thiel, 1 Oli Kilifi.
Subs: 16 Joe Taufetee, 17 Zach Fenoglio, 18 Mate Moeakiola, 19 Titi Lamositele, 20 Cam Dolan, 21 Al McFarland, 22 Mike Petri, 23 Chris Wyles.