USA underdog status puts pressure on England - coach Gold

The USA Rugby team train ahead of their World Cup opener against 2003 champions England, with the two sides set to play on Thursday Sept. 26 in Kobe City. Filippo Monteforte/AFP/Getty Images

USA's huge underdog status will put pressure on England when the two sides face each other in the Rugby World Cup on Thursday, U.S. coach Gary Gold has said.

Gold, who took the helm at USA rugby in 2018, is under no illusions about the size of the task facing his team in Kobe and said he hoped his players would emerge from the game with credibility.

"We pretty much don't have anything to lose... the expectations are quite low, nobody gives us a chance, and conversely that puts pressure on a team like England," Gold said in a news conference.

"When you are playing a team that on paper is supposed to be weaker than you, it will go through their minds -- What if?"

England head coach Eddie Jones has made 10 changes to the side that beat Tonga in their Pool C opener on Sunday, and Gold has insisted that the opposing line-up makes no difference to him -- the 15 starting players they will face will all be of high quality.

"It didn't really bother me who they did and didn't pick, because it's coming in waves," Gold added. "If it wasn't the team that played against Tonga, which was monstrously physical and powerful, then it's the team that they've picked at the moment, which is going to be very, very fast.

"I genuinely don't think there are any glaring weaknesses in this England team."

USA will be hoping to achieve their fourth ever World Cup win in 25 matches, having appeared in all but one edition of the tournament since the inaugural competition in 1987.

Information from Reuters contributed to this report.