Rugby World Cup 2019: USA quietly confident of beating England in tournament opener

Even the most optimistic USA rugby fan would struggle to sound upbeat about their chances of beating England at the Rugby World Cup, but Eagles coach Gary Gold is quietly confident of causing a huge upset. 

Gold is under no illusions about the size of the task facing his team in Kobe and said he hoped his players would emerge from the game with credibility.

While Eddie Jones has made 10 changes to the side that beat Tonga in their Pool C opener, Gold said it made no difference to him who the England coach selected. He was simply replacing one quality player with another.

"It didn't bother me who they did and didn't pick because it's coming in waves," he said.

"If it wasn't the team that played against Tonga, which was monstrously physical and powerful, then it's the team that they've picked at the moment, which is going to be very, very fast.

"I genuinely don't think there are any glaring weaknesses in this England team."

That is not to say Gold harbours no hope of a stunning upset similar to the defeat Japan inflicted on South Africa four years ago. England will have to cope with the pressure of being expected to win, and win well.

"We pretty much don't have anything to lose .. the expectations are quite low, nobody gives us a chance, and conversely that puts pressure on a team like England.

"When you are playing a team that on paper is supposed to be weaker than you, it will go through their minds - What if?"

Things do not get much easier for the Americans. After they play England, awaiting them is three-times runners-up France, then  Argentina before they round out their group against Tonga.

Gold was excited by the challenge.

"Tier-two teams moan and cry for more opportunities to play tier-one teams, so when we're drawn in a pool like this we see it as an exciting opportunity," he added.

"We don't see it necessarily as a daunting task. It's going to be a challenging task, but it's one we've been preparing for a very long time.

"If we stick to what we have been planning to do and we work hard for 100 percent of the time then you never know, the scoreboard in one of those games might be in our favour."

Join us for live updates of England v Canada and England v USA from 7:45pm Thursday