I agree with what swiss said. US has done very well in the world 7s series over the past year, but 7s is a very different game. We might be able to take advantage of the ability to find gaps and make line breaks against Samoa and Tonga, but our pack will be gassed by half time and I don’t think our back line has the necessary size to compete.
On the other hand England and South Africa just play a smarter game (well, ok, England not necessarily, although I’m interested to see what happens tomorrow against France).
Even if our fitness, strategy, coaching, and overall level of talent are better, those two games will come down to the simple fact that most the Eagles never touched a rugby ball until college, whereas the Brits and South Africans probably started watching and playing the game as small children.
Much the same as the US soccer world cup team, we’ve got the talent, and the athleticism, we just don’t have the experienced players. We don’t grow up watching world class rugby or even playing youth rugby.
On the other hand, I can’t tell you how excited I’ll be if the US somehow manages to pull off an upset of the Brits of the Boks. Or better yet, make it out of group play. I don’t really know what it would do for the sport in the US, but if it at least made the news or gained enough popularity to have the occasional midnight match shown on ESPN 18 (God forbid an actual sport displace poker or friggin nascar on ESPN) I’d be happy.
Anyway, I’ll be watching and pulling for the Eagles, but Ireland’s my other team, and they’ve actually got a shot at winning the bloody thing, so they’ll get most my support.