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Last Updated: Friday, 26 September, 2003, 06:35 GMT 07:35 UK
USA play a different ball game
The United States playing rugby? Well, at least it is similar to American Football.

In a land where there are four major sports and a host of minority sports, rugby certainly falls into the latter category.

Their unenviable record in the World Cup shows they are some way off to becoming a rugby superpower.

USA v Italy 1991
Played 9 - W:1 L:8
1987: Pool stages
1991: Pool stages
1995: Did not qualify
1999: Pool stages
The US have competed at three World Cups - 1987, 1991 and 1999 - played nine games in total and come away with a solitary win.

That single victory was achieved in their first match of the 1987 campaign.

On that occasion fellow minnows Japan were on the receiving end of a 21-18 scoreline.

Both sides scored three tries, although with the reliable boot of American full-back Ray Nelson was the main difference between the sides.

The other two pool matches went true to form as Australia and England romped to victory.

The next US campaign came in 1991 when they were outplayed by Italy, New Zealand and England, who in total scored 113 points against 24 in reply.

After failing to qualify for the 1995 tournament - Argentina taking the Americas spot - the United States returned for the 1999 event.

A 53-8 loss to Ireland in their first match did not bode well for the rest of the tournament.

They were unlucky to lose against a plucky Romania side 27-25, having taken the lead through flanker and captain Dan Lyle, who later had to come off the field injured.

In their final match, they faced the might of Australia and were thumped 55-19.

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