Australia keen to make amends against USA
Australia are keen to show they remain a force to be reckoned with in the Rugby World Cup when they take on the USA in Wellington.
The Wallabies suffered a surprise 15-6 defeat to Ireland on Saturday, meaning they are likely to face a tougher route through the knockout stages than previously expected.
Prop Ben Alexander said Australia are keen to re-establish their credentials in Friday's Pool C match, but have a healthy respect for the United States.
"Anyone who plays for the US in any of their sporting sides plays with passion because they have such a large population and such a big country," Alexander said.
"Any of the chosen few that get to represent their country do so with a huge honour."
"We are expecting the same physicality and ferocity that they played Russia and Ireland with."
"They gave Ireland a good test in the wet."
A strong performance against the US may help to quieten some of Australia's critics, but the Wallabies must contend with several injuries going into the match.
Captain and forward James Horwill misses out with a shoulder problem, while winger James O'Connor is also unavailable due to a hamstring strain.
Rob Horne, Drew Mitchell, Wycliff Palu and James Slipper are all set for their first starts of the tournament.
According to Alexander, Australia intend to produce a considerable improvement from the Ireland match, when they were outfought at the breakdown and outmuscled in the scrum.
"We are expecting a big game from them (the USA)," Alexander said.
"We are really concentrating on stuff that we can control."
"We cannot control what they are going to do but we can control what we are going to do and improve the areas that we let ourselves down in last Saturday."
The United States defeated Russia 13-6 to record their first win of the competition last Thursday.
And they will have nothing to lose against a team who saw their tag as one of the pre-tournament favourites thrown into doubt against Ireland.