Russia coach Nikolay Nerush admits poor line-outs cost his side dearly against the USA, but is nevertheless proud of his team.
Russia coach Nikolay Nerush admits poor line-outs cost his side dearly against the United States, but is nevertheless proud of his team.
Debutants Russia went down 13-6 at the Taranaki Stadium in New Plymouth on Thursday. USA scrum-half Mike Petri scored the only try of the game in the first-half, but the Eagles had to withstand a fierce onslaught late in the second-half to hold on for victory.
The Bears' inability to hold onto their own line-out ball proved to the big difference between the two sides as they won only six of their 13 throw-ins while the USA secured all the balls they threw in.
Despite the line-out problems, Nerush is delighted with his players for giving their all in their first-ever World Cup match.
“It was our first match at the Rugby World Cup, more important to us than any matches before,” said Nerush.
“We really wanted to show what we could do. We really wanted to win the game.
“To beat the USA in this match would have been really difficult for us, but this match showed us that it was possible. We lost the match but we didn't lose ourselves.”
He added: “Unfortunately, the line-out didn't go well and the balls we could have won could have helped us win the game. The US team are very experienced, not debutants in the Rugby World Cup, in which they have played many times.
“I thank the boys for pushing the boundaries and playing as well as they could. They forged through until the end. I've no real complaints save the line-outs.”
Captain and hooker Vladislav Korshunov was also left scratching his head about their line-out problems.
“I do not manage the whole line-out, I just throw in the ball,” he said.
“We jumped at the point where our opponents were waiting for us, and when we managed to catch the ball we dropped it frequently, probably because it was slippery.
“I felt confident throwing the ball, maybe it was worth changing to the second or third jumper.”
The USA were delighted to bounce back with a win after losing their opening Pool C game against Ireland 22-10.
Skipper Todd Clever hailed his side for toughening it out, but also praised Russia.
“I was very nervous,” he said.
“They are a tough team and they are improving, every time we play them they are getting better and better. I am just so proud of the guys that we were able to finish that.
“It's an awesome feeling (to win). I am proud of the boys for sticking through. We made it tough on ourselves but the crowd got us through. Mentally we were there but physically we were a little slow off the cuff, but we have a break before our next game so hopefully we can be back to 100 percent.”