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Russia 6-13 USA Eagles, Rugby World Cup, September 15
Clever relieved man after win
ESPNscrum Staff
September 15, 2011
USA Eagles' Todd Clever on the charge, USA Eagles v Russia, Rugby World Cup, Stadium Taranaki, New Plymouth, New Zealand, September 15, 2011
Clever lead from the front throughout the Pool C clash © Getty Images
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United States captain Todd Clever has paid tribute to his side but admitted the nervous started to kick in when it looked like Russia were on the verge of a comeback during the the Eagles' 13-6 win on Thursday.

The Bears were making their World Cup debut and a good start saw them take a 3-0 lead through a Yuri Kushnarev penalty. But the USA enjoyed the better of the contest with Saracens full-back Chris Wyles kicking two penalties and converting Mike Petri's well-worked try to seal the win.

But Eddie O'Sullivan's men were given a late scare as a Konstantin Rachkov penalty narrowed the gap, before Russia rumbled into the 22 in search of a levelling score, but the USA held out.

Clever, whose side had a short turnaround after losing to Ireland on Sunday, told ITV1: "I was very nervous. They are a tough team and they are improving, every time we play them they are getting better and better. I am just so proud of the guys that we were able to finish that.

"It's an awesome feeling (to win). I am proud of the boys for sticking through. We made it tough on ourselves but the crowd got us through. Mentally we were there but physically we were a little slow off the cuff, but we have a break before our next game so hopefully we can be back to 100%."

The Eagles next face the daunting challenge of Australia in eight days' time. And Clever is looking forward to facing a side of the quality of the Wallabies, now that his side have a win under their belt. He said: "That will be a tough game and we are looking forward to a tough challenge against the big names. We want to improve every game and we look forward to that."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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