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In Soviet Russia, ball kicks you.

In Soviet Russia, everyone in from the wrong side.

In Soviet Russia … ok actually that’s all we’ve got.

The local and world press has taken to the idea that USA v. Russia is some kind of Cold War rematch. It’s like there was the 1972 Olympic basketball final, the 1980 Olympic hockey game, and now this is the rubber match. (Apparently nobody saw Rocky IV, where this was all settled.)

It isn’t any of that, of course. Russia hasn’t been the Soviet Union since 1991, so long ago, in fact, that most of the USA team doesn’t even remember Cold War.

The story isn’t a story at all.

“I’m a little bit older than the guys, so I remember,” said USA forwards coach Dave Hodges. “In my formative years in sport, anytime you played Russia it was a big rivalry. While I think some of that has gone because of where we are now politically, there’s still a little bit there. It’s not as intense as it used to be. They’re still a power in the world and the players realize that.”

Hodges said the players think of the Russia rivalry because of Russia being a rising rugby nation, not because of the Cold War.

“For the players, it’s really only something they’ve read about in books.”