AUCKLAND, 13 Sept. - Key facts and figures for Rugby World Cup 2011 Pool C match between Russia and USA at Stadium Taranaki, New Plymouth, on Thursday, 15 September.
- USA have played Russia on three previous occasions, the Americans winning all three. (The USA lost 31-16 to the Soviet Union in 1988.)
- However, the winning margin has reduced each time, from 30 points in 2004, to 17 last year and then seven in June this year.
- None of the current USA squad played in the 2004 match against Russia when the Eagles won 41-11.
- Hooker Vladislav Korshunov, second row Alexander Voytov and scrum half Alexander Shakirov (all RUS) played in every one of those matches against USA.
- Wing Vasily Artemyev (RUS) has scored a try in each of his two matches against USA.
- None of Russia's players debuted against the United States Test team, but prop Ivan Prishchepenko played his first Test match against USA A in July 2003.
- Ranked at No. 19 on the IRB World Rankings
- Russia are the 25th team to play at a Rugby World Cup.
- The last two debutants, Georgia and Portugal, lost all four of their respective matches in their first Rugby World Cup.
- Debutants Spain lost all three of their RWC 1999 matches, but fellow debutants that year, Uruguay, were in the same group as the Spaniards so came away with one win - a 27-15 victory against the Iberian team.
- Russia have lost six of their last seven Test matches and have only beaten Spain and Ukraine in eight matches this year.
- Russia played their first match in a non-cap international against the Barbarians in June 1992.
- Their first official Test was played four months later against Belgium, with the Russians winning 17-11.
- Qualified for RWC 2011 by finishing second behind Georgia in the 2008-2010 European Nations Cup.
- Ranked at No.18 on the IRB World Rankings.
- USA coach Eddie O'Sullivan (IRE) is one of three coaches to appear in his third World Cup. The others are Graham Henry (NZL) and John Kirwan (NZL, now coach of Japan). O'Sullivan led Ireland in the 2003 and 2007 World Cups.
(In fact, counting assistant coach appearances, O'Sullivan is now in is 5th World Cup)
- USA are the defending Olympic champions in rugby, winning the gold medal at the 1924 Games in Paris. Rugby returns to the Olympic calendar in 2016 for the first time in 92 years in the Sevens format when the Games take place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
- USA have played in 18 RWC matches and have collected two wins and 16 defeats. The only opponents the Eagles have beaten are Japan (twice). Both wins took place in Australia.
- They have recorded three last-place finishes in the pool phase. Only Japan (four) have finished bottom more often.
- In RWC 2007, USA set a competition record by fielding the youngest player. Thretton Palamo was 19 years and eight days when he made his debut against South Africa. That record will be toppled by Taylor Paris (CAN) should he start in any of Canada's four pool matches at RWC 2011.
- Qualified for RWC 2011 by beating Uruguay over two legs after losing to Canada in a two-legged match.
- USA played at Stadium Taranaki in their opening match of RWC 2011, the 22-10 defeat by Ireland.
- The New Plymouth stadium has been used for one other Test match not involving a New Zealand team. That was a fixture between Samoa and Japan in 2006.
- It is the home of Taranaki, who play in New Zealand's main club competition.
- USA have made just three changes to their starting XV for the match against Russia on Thursday, despite it being their second RWC fixture in five days.
- Hooker Phil Thiel, prop Shawn Pittman and full back Blaine Scully all drop to the bench and are replaced by Chris Biller, Matekitonga Moeakiola and Chris Wyles respectively.
- Prop Mike MacDonald will play his 10th Rugby World Cup match for USA on Thursday, equalling Alec Parker's record.
- The USA second row partnership of John van der Giessen and Hayden Smith will start together for the 12th time in a Test match.
- Only Luke Gross and Parker, who played together at two Rugby World Cups, started together in the USA second row more often than van der Giessen and Smith.
- Russia number 8 Vyacheslav Grachev will become the oldest player to appear at RWC 2011 and the third oldest ever.
- Grachev will be 38 years and 146 days on Thursday, just less than a month older than Argentine hooker Mario Ledesma, who had become the oldest player at this year's tournament in last Saturday's defeat by England.
- Diego Ormaechea (URU) and Mark Cardinal (CAN) are the only players older than Grachev to have played in a RWC match.
- The Russian team shows three changes from the one that lost 32-25 to USA at the Churchill Cup in June, Russia's most recent full Test outing.
- The Russian half back partnership of Alexander Shakirov and Yury Kushnarev start in their 18th Test together, a record for a scrum half and fly half, which they set a few matches ago.
- Vasily Artemyev, Vladimir Ostroushko and Igor Klyuchnikov will start together for the ninth time to equal the Russian record for the back three, should they be selected to start against Italy next week.