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Preview: Russia v USA

22nd November 2013 11:30

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Leader: Todd Clever

Hosted in greater London, Russia will take on the USA Eagles on Saturday for the first in 2013.

Russia arrive having been comprehensively beaten by Japan in Wales last Friday, with the Brave Blossoms putting 40 points on Kingsley Jones' team.

There was a bright spot in a try for winger Vladimir Ostroushko, but Russia were generally outclassed by a Japanese team that had already faced the All Blacks and Scotland.

2013 has been a year consisting of six losses in nine games for Russia, with victories coming against Spain, Portugal and Belgium but they have now fallen in their last four matches - a run stretching back to March.

The record of their opponents on Saturday looks even more desperate on paper. The USA only won their first match of the year last weekend against Georgia by a single point in Tbilisi.

That sole success came after a run of eight defeats - including three to close rivals Canada - whilst some losses were against stronger opposition such as the Maori All Blacks and Ireland.

USA full-back Chris Wyles though believes the Eagles are in better shape than their records suggests, and is excited to represent his country on the ground where he plays his club rugby with Saracens at Allianz Park.

"It's a very nice moment to play at my home" Wyles told the Saracens website.

"It's pretty special for me to play an international game at Allianz Park - it's been great to show all the boys the facilities and we've trained on the pitch so everyone is getting accustomed to it."

"It's been good time for US rugby lately. Our first game was against the New Zealand Maori, I wasn't playing but they filled the stadium in Philadelphia, which holds about 18,000 people and then the next weekend we traveled to Georgia and won by a point so it's been a great tour so far.

"I've played Russia three or four times now and every time we play them we know we're going to be against a very physical team,. We know quite a lot about their players and the physicality they bring but we're looking forward to meeting them head on - it should be a great occasion".

Russia: 15 Ramil Gaysin, 14 Vasily Artemyev, 13 Igor Galinovskiy, 12 Dmitry GerasimovAlexey Makovetskiy, 11 Vladimir Ostroushko, 10 Sergey Sugrobov, 9 Anton Ryabov, 8 Victor Gresev, 7 Pavel Butenko, 6 Alexander Khudyakov, 5 Andrey Garbuzov, 4 Alexander Voytov (c), 3 Evgeny Pronenko, 2 Valery Tsnobiladze, 1 Grigory Tsnobiladze.
Replacements: 16 Vladislav Korshunov, 17 Aleksey Volkov, 18 Innokentiy Zykov, 19 Denis Antonov, 20 Artem Fatakhov, 21 Yury Kushnarev, 22 Andrey Otrokov, 23 Denis Simplikevich.

USA: 15 Chris Wyles, 14 Blaine Scully, 13 Folau Niua, 12 Andrew Suniula, 11 Tim Maupin, 10 Adam Siddal, 9 Robbie Shaw, 8 Cameron Dolan, 7 Scott LaValla, 6 Todd Clever (c), 5 Samu Manoa, 4 Tai Tuisamoa, 3 Titi Lamositele, 2 Phil Thiel, 1 Nick Wallace
Replacements: 16 Zach Fonoglio, 17 Olive Kilifi, 18 Eric Fry, 19 Graham Harriman, 20 Derek Asburn, 21 Shaun Davies, 22 Seamus Kelly, 23 Luke Hume

Date: Saturday 23rd November
Venue: Allianz Park
Kick-off: 15.00 (local and GMT)
Referee: Marius Mitrea (Italy)
Assistant referees: TBC (England)

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4USA44
5Russia41