Japan’s win scrambles Pool B prospects

Not sure that Australian scrum half Nick Phipps would still say this about the U.S. rugby team now, but before the Wallabies beat the Eagles 47-10 on Sept. 5, he told The Guardian: “They should cause a couple of upsets at the World Cup. They have some very big, dominant forwards. They have some really big, tall timber in the second row. They also have a couple of centers that are hard runners, and are quite skillful in the offload area as well. They have got threats all around the park.”

The Eagles will need to use all those threats on Sunday as they face Samoa in their first Rugby World Cup 2015 match. A win over Samoa would not be an upset as they have come within a try of beating the Islanders in previous matches. But a win could set up the U.S. to do well in Pool B, which was set topsy-turvy on Saturday with Japan’s upset win over South Africa, previously the heavy favorite to win the pool.

Even with a win on Sunday, it would still be a tough road ahead for the Eagles. Japan is obviously not going to be an easy win on October 11, and before then the U.S. will face Scotland and South Africa, who will be looking to pick up the extra pool points that come with scoring four tries in a match. The way this Pool B is starting out, it could be decided not just on wins and losses, but on getting the advantage through scoring more tries.

It’s set up for a very competitive couple of weeks.

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