FORMER Dragons coach Huw Bevan is confident that the USA will be fit enough to give their rivals a run for their money at the World Cup.

The ex-hooker is a high performance consultant with World Rugby and is working with the Eagles ahead of Japan 2019.

The USA have been drawn in a pool with England, France, Argentina and Tonga, with most expecting them to struggle.

But Bevan, who was brought to the Dragons by Lyn Jones in 2014 and was head of performance before leaving last summer, believes the group minnows have made strides in their fitness that gives them a chance of causing scares.

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"The plan is to be competitive at the World Cup," he said. "We are training very hard to ensure that we can perform to the best of our ability in Japan.

"It's going to be very tough but we want to challenge and compete with every team we play against. Historically tier two nations have maybe fallen away in the last 20 to 25 minutes of big games against tier one nations.

"We're working very hard in the US to fix that and I think we'll be a lot more competitive than we have been in the past at this World Cup.

"I think we can certainly close the gap from an S&C point of view with the sides who are currently ranked in the top 10 in the world rankings."

Bevan, from Bridgend, was brought back to rugby after spending five years as the England cricket team's strength and conditioning coach.

He was also employed by Glamorgan to conduct a review after their nightmare 2018 and believes the sport has helped him with the oval ball.

"I learnt a hell of a lot from working in cricket. It was a great experience and I worked with England cricket during a very successful period in their history," said Bevan, who was involved in three Ashes triumphs and the World T20 win.

"At one stage we were number one in the world in all formats and we won a few Ashes competitions.

"Working in rugby is pretty straightforward because the association between getting fitter and stronger is pretty easy to promote with the players.

"But with the England and Wales Cricket Board the correlation between being stronger and fitter isn't necessarily as straightforward to understand.

"The ability to sell that to the players and think of better ways of trying to improve their performance had benefits coming back into rugby.

"The way I go about what I do and my approach with players and coaches is now different as a result of being in cricket.

"It helped me recognise how important it is to build a healthy relationship with players and coaches to enable them to enhance their own performance."