THEY have never beaten Australia in seven meetings with the Wallabies, but the United States rugby team are Olympic gold medallists - dual gold medallists in fact.
Indeed, the US are the reigning Olympic champions, given rugby was stripped of its Olympic status following the Americans' win over France in Paris 1924. That victory was a repeat of the result in the 1920 Olympics in Antwerp.
So while the US are considered minnows and newcomers to the code, their rugby history dates back to the 19th century, when British immigrants introduced the sport to the leading universities, including Harvard, Princeton and Yale.
And 139 years on, playing in their sixth World Cup, the Eagles have every confidence they can follow Ireland's lead and cause the Wallabies a serious headache on Friday night.
Eagles captain Todd Clever, who has been cleared to play by the IRB after escaping punishment for a late shoulder during his side's win over Russia, said that after witnessing Ireland and Samoa's defeats of the Australians, his side would go into the match with confidence.
''It's not impossible, is it?'' the openside breakaway told Associated Press after Australia's shock loss to the Irish on Saturday.
A week earlier, the US pushed Ireland for 80 minutes and lost by just 12 points, robbing their opponents of a bonus point in the process.
''I was going through some scenarios in my head, but I am not going to jump to the quarter-finals just yet,'' Clever said. ''Australia are one of the top sides in the world. You can't take anything away from that just based on one performance.
''In saying that, Samoa beat them earlier, when they didn't put their strongest side out. Anything could happen and the boys will train hard and prepare best for that game.''
The Eagles arrived in Wellington yesterday, after travelling from New Plymouth, and will resume training today before Friday's clash at the ground known as The Cake Tin.
The 28-year-old has every reason to be confident. For all the Wallabies' talent, the average points difference between the two sides in seven meetings since 1987 has been 27 points, with the Eagles getting within four points in 1993.
Since then, participation rates for rugby in the US have soared, exceeding 90,000, compared with 200,000 in Australia, where rugby is one of the country's four most-played sports.
It is almost 100 years since the sides first met. The US played their first international against Australia in 1912 at Berkeley University and went down by just four points.
And while a win for the US in Wellington on Friday night is unlikely, with Wallabies coach Robbie Deans expected to name a full-strength side for the must-win clash, history has shown it should be anything but a cakewalk.