Tim Usasz has a nickname on the USA squad, 50-50; it's based on how reliable his stories are.
He's also called "The Russian" because of, officially, his presence. Or the fact he can be a little aggressive maybe?
Either way, the Australian-born, quasi-Nebraskan Usasz is now the USA captain against Australia. Nebraska? That's right. Part of the Usasz family emigrated from Nebraska to Australia, and the two sides of the family keep a connection. The only people with the last name Usasz you will find, says the scrumhalf, are in Australia, or Nebraska.
Can Usasz lead a good old'fashioned Cornhusker whuppin' on the Wallabies? Well he's got the passion for it.
“I was obviously very honoured to be named captain of the team and it’s obviously a big game in the World Cup, so I’m just looking forward to getting out there and getting amongst it and getting started,” said Usasz. “[Australia has] been copping a fair bit of heat about their performance and they’ll be looking to make a statement ... so they’ll come out firing and we just need to make sure we’re ready for that."
The Eagles will have to ramp up what's been a big defensive effort so far this World Cup. Australia can be contained - Ireland proved that - but it's hard.
“We’ve certainly worked a lot on our defense," Usasz said. "When you play a team like Australia who tend to score a lot of points, you need to give yourself every possible chance of winning the game. If we can defend really well, we’ll give ourselves a good chance.”
Usasz will of cours be captaining the Eagles against the country of his birth, and facing off against the outstanding Will Genia at scrumhalf as well. Those facts just add to the moentousness of his first run-on as captain.
“[Genia is] probably the form halfback in the world at the moment and as an international player you always want to test yourself against the best guys, and he probably is the best, so it’s a really big challenge and I’m really looking forward to it," Usasz explained. And as for playing against Australia. “It’s big, but it’s probably a bigger deal for you guys [in the media]. It’s another game for us as a team. It will hold some personal significance for me, but at the end of the day it’s just another game.”
That doesn't sound 50-50 at all.