The Americans head to the World Cup in Japan trying to hold their own in the Group of Death.

Shawn Pittman looked out at the players on the United States national rugby team, the Eagles, going through their drills and thought back eight years to when he was preparing to play in the 2011 Rugby World Cup.

At the time, he was one of a handful of players on the team who played professionally. Most of his teammates came from the semipro and amateur ranks. The team had only a few weeks together to prepare, and coaches increased practices to

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