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Rugby World Cup 2011: USA vs. Russia Preview

NEW PLYMOUTH, NEW ZEALAND - SEPTEMBER 11:  Todd Clever of USA leaps with the ball during the IRB 2011 Rugby World Cup Pool C match between Ireland and the USA on September 11, 2011 in New Plymouth, New Zealand.  (Photo by Sandra Mu/Getty Images)
Sandra Mu/Getty Images
Chris CarsonContributor ISeptember 14, 2011

The meeting of the United States and Russia on the pitch in New Plymouth, New Zealand tomorrow may be more symbolic than anything else.

The history of American and Russian competition covers everything from hockey to basketball to boxing, even outer space. But never before have the two nations competed in rugby.

This is can partly be attributed to Russia having never competed in a World Cup Tournament.

The Russian squad is young and focused, and a strong showing for them against the Americans could plant the seed to grow into strong World Cup appearances in the future.

All of Russia will be watching to see how their boys do against an old, if friendly, rival.

The match carries a bit more weight for the United States. After losing to Ireland in an overall well fought and well played match for the Americans, the Eagles will need a win in order to keep any hopes at the quarterfinals alive.

The United States is in a good position at the moment.

Going into the match with Russia, they can draw from a good showing against Ireland, one of the world's best teams, and look forward to a long break before facing Australia on September 23.

Before they can celebrate a victory, the United States will need to improve their scrum, which was rolled over time and again against the Irish, as well as their line outs when they face Russia.

Meanwhile, Russia will try to compete and show the world they belong in the World Cup.

Prediction: With the weight of a nation on their shoulders the Russians will come up short against the more athletic and experienced Americans. The United States wins 25--10.

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