In what can only be described as torrential weather conditions, the USA grabbed their first victory of the World Cup against dogged debutants Russia. As Russia took the field it was clear that their players were hyped up ready for the match. To them this was their world cup final; the only game in which they realistically stood a chance of picking up a victory. Within minutes the Russian's found themselves in the US 22m area looking for their first points in world cup competition. Those points arrived after three minutes as the US infringed leaving a straight forward penalty for Kushnarev. The lead was almost doubled a few minutes later as Kushnarev missed a long range penalty.
Whilst Russia were trying to keep the game tight, the US were keen to play a more expansive game and keep the ball away from the heavy Russian pack. Their rewards came as fullback Wyles knocked over a penalty to bring the scores level. In quick succession the US made a number and breaks, building up the phases and drawing closer to the Russian line. As the first quarter of the game came to an end scrum half Petri scampered over to round off a continued period of US pressure. It was the only time that the Russian line would be breached as for the remainder of the half the Eastern Europeans stood strong and repelled everything the Eagles could throw at them.
During the half-time interval, with the Eagles leading 10-3, the weather took a turn for the worse putting an end to any kind of expansive play in the second half. The game was ended as a spectaple due to the weather but that did not detract away from the intrique of the game. With a slippery ball handling errors were common but neither side let that affect them. With both sides keeping the ball tight and putting in tremendous effort in defense it would only take one score to change the game. With a penalty a piece in the second half and a series of missed kicks from both sides, Russia found themselves 7 points behind entering the final 10 minutes. Unfortuntately for the Bears the US defence, led by captain Clever held strong in their own 22 to seal the victory.
The USA will be please to have secured their hard fought victory, especially with the vast improvement in their set piece play. The scrum was an area of weakness against Ireland, but today the US came out on top against a much hyped Russian scrum. Russia will also be pleased with their performance and to have come away with a losing bonus point. Next up for the Eagles a tough encounter against Australia, while Russia will look forward to a game against the Italians.
Russia - 6 (Pen: Kushnarev, Rachkov)
USA “ 13 (Try: Petri, Con: Wyles, Pen: Wyles (2))