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They can’t drop out of Core status, and, in fact, will not drop lower than 13th. Currently ranked 10th with 37 points, the Eagles could easily keep that ranking, but they have virtually no chance of catching France (65 points) unless the USA pulls off some massive upsets and France implodes.

So, in some sense, the pressure is off. Win or lose, 1st or last, they come back as a core team and finish ranked about where they’ve been ranked before.

Then again, in some senses, the pressure is most decidedly on. Head Coach Alex Magleby runs into his final two tournaments before his job is up for grabs again. If the team looks good, even while producing similar finishes than before, then he likely retains his position. If the team takes a big step backward, then you might see a change.

Results, especially whether the Eagles get hardware or not, shouldn’t matter, but it will. If the USA can win the Bowl or the Shield, the USA Rugby Board will be in a good mood about Magleby. That’s just a fact of how coaches get assessed.

The players, too, are under pressure. They like Magleby and would like him to stay, and so feel the pressure to show that through their play. But they are also playing for their own status.

The contacts given to players were for six months. The players will want to be renewed, and how they perform in the UK will go a long way to ensuring that happens.

So there it is – relax, have fun with it, don’t be so tight and tense when you play. Relax, play what’s in front of you, and when the game’s on the line, keep your composure. Oh, and everyone’s job is on the line (but don’t think about it).

Pool play will be difficult for this group. They are just not in position to talk about beating England and Australia right now. Kenya, they can beat. (Actually, they can beat the others, too, but a lot of things have to go right.)

Instead, then, it will be, once again, about Sunday. What can the USA do on Sunday?

Well Sunday won’t be a picnic, either. The USA is in Pool A, which is paired with Pool D. Pool D has Wales, South Africa, Scotland and Russia. All of those are good to outstanding teams. Scotland and the USA have been relatively equal all season, but on home soil, how do you think the Scots will play?

And Russia – well Russia has a lot to prove, and has hurt the USA more than once.

Win or lose the USA will have at least one more game after that. It’s that second game that is crucial, because winning the second game on Day Two means you’re in a final, which means more exposure, you get on TV back home, and you can get a few more points.

Likely Spain, France, Portugal or Zimbabwe await at that level. They aren’t pushovers, either.

Points in Scotland will be hard won.

Notre: Zack Test leads the USA with 16 tries, which is 15th in the World Series. He has already claimed the USA record for most tries in IRB tournaments, now over 50 and counting. Shalom Suniula now holds the USA record for most IRB tournaments played in, with 29, surpassing Matt Hawkins, who played in his 28th in Las Vegas. Glasgow will give Suniula 30.