- Title: USA take on England in their opening pool match of 2019 Rugby World Cup
- Date: 25th September 2019
- Summary: KOBE, JAPAN (SEPTEMBER 25, 2019) (REUTERS) ***WARNING CONTAINS FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY*** USA TEAM MEMBERS SIDE STEPPING AT PRACTICE SQUAD MEMBERS SIDE STEPPING WITH STRETCH BANDS (SOUNDBITE) (English) UNITED STATES RUGBY WORLD CUP HEAD COACH, GARY GOLD, SAYING: "There's one or two things that we'll try tomorrow and hopefully, you know, that maybe something that England haven't seen before. We'll see if we can get it going. But, we're just playing a really balanced team, you know. And it doesn't really, it didn't really bother me who they did and didn't pick because it's coming in waves. I mean, if it's, if it wasn't the team that played against Tonga, which was monstrously physical and powerful, then it's the team that they've picked at the moment, which is going to be very, very fast, you know." USA RUGBY SQUAD STRETCHING ON PITCH (SOUNDBITE) (English) UNITED STATES RUGBY WORLD CUP HEAD COACH, GARY GOLD, SAYING: "I would say, we pretty much don't have anything to lose, I mean, other than the rugby game. But, we don't really have anything to lose. The expectations are quite low, nobody gives us a chance, and conversely that puts pressure on a team like England. I mean, the reality is we've all been there no matter what level you have or you haven't played at or coached. And you know when are playing a team that on paper is supposed to be weaker than you, the England players, it will go through their mind. Maybe not very long but it'll go through their mind, you know, what if, what if, what if? So, you know, when you're in a situation like that and you know, the pressures really on them and it's not really on us." USA RUGBY SQUAD TRAINING (SOUNDBITE) (English) UNITED STATES RUGBY WORLD CUP HEAD COACH, GARY GOLD, SAYING: "I genuinely don't think there are any glaring weaknesses in this England team. I mean, they defend particularly well. Their set pieces are outstanding. They've got good ball in hand play. You know, George (Ford) runs the show brilliantly at 10." USA RUGBY SQUAD POSING FOR TEAM PHOTO (SOUNDBITE) (English) UNITED STATES RUGBY WORLD CUP HEAD COACH, GARY GOLD, SAYING: "For as long as I can remember, you know, tier two teams, or as people like to refer to us, you know, have been moaning and crying for more, you know, opportunities to play tier against tier one teams, so when we're drawn in a pool like this we see it as an exciting opportunity. We don't see it necessarily as a daunting task. Although, it's going to be a very difficult task. But, you know, it's something that we've been preparing for, for a very long time now." ENGLAND TEAM PRACTICING TACKLE DRILL VARIOUS OF ENGLAND TEAM AT TRAINING SESSION (SOUNDBITE) (English) ENGLAND SCRUM COACH, NEAL HATLEY, SAYING: "We've, we've obviously...He played against Japan, we've had a look at that footage. He did a really good job there. So he'll get the respect he deserves as a starting international loosehead. But it is, you know, I think some of the players are getting younger and younger and it's a great baptism of fire for him." VARIOUS OF ENGLAND SQUAD STRETCHING AT TRAINING SESSION (SOUNDBITE) (English) ENGLAND SCRUM COACH, NEAL HATLEY, SAYING: "We had Paul William's first game, he came in and told us what he was going to deliver and did exactly that. So, we're one from one with the referees. Really happy with what he delivered, what he said to us. He did exactly what he said he was going to do so we can't ask for more than that." ENGLAND CAPTAIN OWEN FARRELL KICKING BALL AT TRAINING / ENGLAND SQUAD STRETCHING ENGLAND SQUAD STRETCHING AND WALKING FARRELL KICKING BALL
- Embargoed: 9th October 2019 09:20
- Keywords: rugby union World Cup England USA Japan Kobe Gary Gold Neal Hatley
- Location: KOBE, JAPAN
- City: KOBE, JAPAN
- Country: Japan
- Topics: Rugby Union,Sport
- Reuters ID: LVA001AY5LX6N
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:Even the most optimistic U.S. rugby fan would struggle to sound upbeat about their chances of beating England at the World Cup on Thursday (September 26) but Eagles coach Gary Gold says that being severe underdogs will allow his team to perform without pressure.
Cape Town native Gold, who took the helm at USA rugby in 2018, is under no illusions about the size of the task facing his team in Kobe and said he hoped his players would emerge from the game with credibility.
While Eddie Jones has made 10 changes to the side that beat Tonga in their Pool C opener, Gold said it made no difference to him who the England coach selected. He was simply replacing one quality player with another.
Gold harbours no hope of a stunning upset similar to the defeat Japan inflicted on South Africa four years ago. England will have to cope with the pressure of being expected to win, and win well.
Things do not get much easier for the United States after they play England, with three-times runners-up France next up followed by 2015 semi-finalists Argentina before they round out their group against Tonga.
England's front row will give due respect to 19-year-old U.S. prop David Ainuu in their Pool C match in Kobe on Thursday but scrum coach Neal Hatley predicts it will be a "baptism of fire" for the Toulouse loosehead when he faces Dan Cole.
Cole worked hard on his game to get back in the squad after being dropped last year and the 32-year-old will earn his 91st cap in England's second match of the tournament, tying Jonny Wilkinson for third on their all-time appearances list.
Despite the experience gap, Hatley says U.S. coach Gary Gold had good reason to select Ainuu, who will win just his ninth cap on Thursday.
The standard of refereeing in Japan has been the subject of much debate, with World Rugby issuing a statement on Tuesday (September 24) conceding that the officiating over the first weekend of the World Cup was not up to scratch.
But Hatley said he had no reason to complain about the officiating so far and said the referee in their 35-3 win over Tonga on Sunday was consistent.
(Production: Jill Gralow)
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