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Americans look to ruin Welsh RLWC hopes

Welsh Rugby League World Cup survival hopes will be on the line at the Racecourse Ground on Sunday when they host surprise package USA.
Americans look to ruin Welsh RLWC hopes
by AAP

Wales need to beat a strong USA team to have any hope of making the quarter-finals of the Rugby League World Cup. WREXHAM, Wales, Nov 2 PA - Welsh Rugby League World Cup survival hopes will be on the line at the Racecourse Ground on Sunday when they host surprise package USA.

Iestyn Harris' men put themselves under pressure with their opening-day 32-16 defeat by Italy and must win both their remaining group matches to keep alive their chances of a place in the last eight and a potential clash with tournament favourites Australia.

They take on the Cook Islands in Neath the following Sunday but first must get past Terry Matterson's Tomahawks, who are on a high following their pre-tournament win over France in Toulouse and their 32-20 triumph over the Cooks on their World Cup debut in Bristol.

The Americans will certainly be a different proposition to the team that lost 66-10 and 92-4 to Wales in their only previous meetings, a two-match series in Philadelphia in 1995, especially with the likes of Parramatta stand-off Joseph Paulo, former Hull KR favourite Clint Newton and Wigan-bound Eddy Pettybourne in their ranks.

Harris, who scored 30 of the points in the 66-10 victory, said: "They're a very organised and disciplined team and they've got good players throughout the squad.

"The bulk of their squad is from Australia with some NRL experience thrown in there. The likes of Clint Newton and Eddy Pettybourne are going to be a handful and they've got other players of a very high standard.

"We've got to get to our best quickly and we didn't do that against Italy. When you don't do that against sides that have got good players you come unstuck and that's what happened last weekend. We've got to make sure our performance is at the top level and if that's the case, then we'll give it a good go."

The Tomahawks, along with the Cook Islands, were the last team to open their World Cup campaign and have had just three days to prepare for this match but scrum-half Craig Priestly, who scored their match-clinching try at the Memorial Stadium, is confident and is already eyeing a quarter-final clash with the Kangaroos.

"We don't get much of a rest but we will be working off the momentum we have built," he said.

"The preparation for the France game was very limited. We only had one training session the night before, so to go out and do what we did was unbelievable.

"We took so much confidence from those games and I think it showed as we were heading into the Cook Islands game.

"I think we can progress as far as we want to. We have to start by getting a good win over Wales, then if we can replicate that performance against Scotland we will probably be taking on Australia.

"If we get that far we would have the chance to pull off one of the greatest upsets in Rugby League history. You never know."

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Should be an interesting match-up and I am intrigued as to what might happen if the USA become an RL force! 

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