Rugby World Cup 2011: Review, USA vs. Russia
The match ended as it began, with Russia's fist firmly in America's face.
Russia came out of the gates with vigour, and put up the game's first three points within the first minute on a converted penalty goal. Likewise, the Russians ended the match in American territory, looking for a game-tying try in what seemed to be a very long final 45 seconds.
It was all that happened in between, however, that gave the United States the 13-6 win over Russia.
For the entire match, the United States dominated possession and territory and seemed constantly on the verge of a game-clinching try.
Though the United States did improve on line-outs, as they knew they had to, winning 17 and even stealing a handful from the Russians, they will certainly be looking to improve on ball handling before their match with Australia on September 23rd.
The United States recorded 10 handling errors, three of which came from American speedster Takudzwa Ngwenya. Unfortunately for the United States, the handling errors all seemed to come within Russian territory and really kept the Eagles from cracking the lead open.
The only try of the game was scored by Brooklyn native Mike Petri at about the 19-minute mark coming off of multiple missed tackles by the Russians and three wonderful tosses by the United States.
All together, the Russians missed 20 tackles and that seems to be the defining stat of the match.
The speed and strength of the Americans allowed them to keep continuous pressure of the Russians and, in the end, Russia didn't have enough left in the tank for that final game-saving play.
The win over Russia is the first of the World Cup for the United States, but things will not be any easier for the Eagles who close out pool play with one match against Australia and one match against Italy.
As for Russia, they may have missed their only chance at a win, as their next three matches are against Italy, Ireland and Australia.
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