The USA had a successful debut to the Rugby World Cup, when in 1987 the North Americans defeated Japan. Four years on, however, the United States was given the pool from hell as the USA took on Italy, England and New Zealand in Pool A. At the time 16 teams rather than 20 competed for the William Webb Ellis Trophy and the USA could not have hoped for a worse draw. The USA, nonetheless played some positive rugby and went on to score tries in two of its three matches. The first match, vs Italy, was expected to be the best featuring the USA and indeed it proved to be the lowest scoring. The USA, to its credit, were able to compete in various parts of the game vs both New Zealand and England and despiten going through the tournament winless, were certainly deserving participants and were laying the foundations for future USA teams to attempt to do better.