The Latest: US rugby coach says side "severe underdogs"
TOKYO (AP) — The latest from the Rugby World Cup on Wednesday (all times local):
United States head coach Gary Gold rates his team as "severe underdogs" for the Rugby World Cup game against England in Kobe on Thursday.
Like other coaches of Tier Two nations at the tournament in Japan, Gold stresses that the so-called smaller teams just don't get enough games against the big nations to help them in their quest to improve.
The Eagles last played a top team late last year when they lost 57-14 to Ireland in Dublin. But earlier in 2018, the U.S. beat Scotland by a point in Houston. Those two are the U.S.'s only games against top tier opposition in the last two years.
The U.S., like other lesser-ranked teams at the World Cup, can draw inspiration from Japan's "Miracle of Brighton" at the last World Cup, when the Japanese upset two-time world champion South Africa.
Gold says expectations of an upset in Kobe are low but "the England players, it'll go through their mind. Maybe not very long, but it'll go through their mind. What if? What if? What if?"
Fiji beat Uruguay 68-7 last November in England and is expected to win well in their Rugby World Cup match on Wednesday in Kamaishi.
Fiji made 12 changes after losing to Australia 39-21 last Saturday, but even with a four-day turnaround the Fijians should be too strong.
Uruguay gets its campaign underway six days into the tournament with an entirely domestic-based team, and the youngest in the tournament.
The Teros have two wins in World Cup history, the last 16 years ago.
It is the only match on Wednesday, and both teams will honor the first World Cup game at Kamaishi Recovery Memorial Stadium in the small fishing town where more than 1,000 were killed by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.
More AP Rugby World Cup: https://www.apnews.com/RugbyWorldCup