THE BREAKDOWN | WORLD CUP BRIEFS

EAGLES TAKE FLIGHT
The USA ensured there was no historic World Cup debut for Russia as the Eagles edged a tight Pool C encounter 13-6. The Russians, the 25th team to take part in the World Cup got on the scoreboard thanks to penalties from Yury Kushnarev and Konstantin Rachkov. But Chris Wyles responded with eight points for America and Mike Petri scored the only try.

COOPER HITS BACK
Australia’s fly-half sensation Quade Cooper is adamant he has no problem with the ongoing criticism surrounding his demeanour on the field. Australia’s World Cup hopes have been largely pinned on the flamboyant No10 but he is a far from universally popular character. The 23-year-old was described as a “boofhead” by Aussie legend Nick Farr-Jones and is public enemy No1 in New Zealand after becoming involved in an ongoing feud with All Black skipper Richie McCaw. "I looked at Nick’s comments in a positive manner,” said Cooper ahead of tomorrow’s Pool A clash against Ireland. “Nick’s already said we’ll be in the final against the All Blacks so in his eyes we’re a lot better than we are. I don’t care [if I’m not liked in New Zealand.”

BOTHA RETURNS FOR BOKS
World champions South Africa have been handed a significant boost with the news that experienced lock Bakkies Botha will return the side for tomorrow’s Pool D encounter against Fiji. Botha is one of six changes to a Springboks side who are without Victor Matfield, Butch James, Bryan Habana and Jean de Villiers through injury. The 31-year-old missed the reigning champions' 17-16 opening win over Wales with an Achilles injury.