It is highly likely that most of the starters from Friday’s match against Australia won’t start for the Eagles against Italy on September 27.
But even so, recovery over the next four days is vitally important.
Recovery was vital for the first two games of the tournament and will be also for the last game, said Lou Stanfill, who has appeared in all three World Cup matches so far.
“The day after the games was a pool recovery and rest the whole rest of the day,” Stanfill outlined. “The following day was a gym session that included core and stretching to kick start the body again. Both of these days had plenty of rest in them which is vital to give the body fresh and to give the brain a rest from the game. This ensures that we come back focused and ready to train.”
The USA will have to rest up and refocus quickly for Italy. A win in Nelson will mean an automatic berth in the 2015 World Cup. Look for Stanfill and Hayden Smith to make their fourth-straight appearances in the World Cup. Blaine Scully, Phil Thiel and Shawn Pittman also have appeared in three matches so far this tournament.
The USA has played Italy twice in their history. In 2004 on tour in Italy, the Eagles went down 43-25. Paul Emerick is the only current Eagle who played in that match. He started at outside center and scored a try. (Current USA Strength and Conditioning Coach David Williams also played in that match at scrumhalf.)
In the 1991 World Cup, the Eagles lost 30-9 in Pool Play.
The Eagles are underdogs, and Stanfill told RUGBYMag.com that being the underdogs doesn’t reduce the pressure, whether that’s in a game against Italy or Australia.
“We must continue to play with the immense passion and hard nose defense that we have set as the standard for ourselves,” Stanfill said. “If we do not meet that same standard of attitude and play, than we have much more to lose than just the game.”