Clever relieved man after win
September 15, 2011
Clever lead from the front throughout the Pool C clash © Getty Images
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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