Scotland v Romania - Teams and Prediction
WORLD CUP, ROUND FOUR: Scotland will be out to build some momentum in their match against Romania ahead of their crucial Pool B encounter against Ireland a week later.
A bonus-point win and a comfortable winning margin will be the target for Gregor Townsend’s team on Saturday and they will likely have to produce a similar feat against the Irish next weekend to qualify for the quarterfinals.
After opening their campaign with a 3-18 defeat to the Boks in their opener, the Scots bounced back with a 45-17 win over Tonga in their second pool match.
“We will have to take the opportunities in front of us and we will do that as a team,” said lock Grant Gilchrest, who will captain the team against Romania.
“We are not all going to try and score tries that aren’t there.
“The obvious one is throwing 50-50 offloads if you think it’s on. It’s got to be definite. It’s got to be mistakes in your favour, not trying the razzle-dazzle.
“We want to try and build phases; we want to put pressure on them.
“That applies to any team we play, but especially this weekend. We don’t need to try and force it as players and a lot of that comes when you’re thinking, ‘I want something to happen for me’.
“We trained really well. There was good energy, the guys coming in are desperate to play. There was a real spark to the session.”
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Townsend has made 13 changes for the match as he tries to keep some of his stars fresh for the Ireland clash.
“We have had an eye on this for a week or so and as soon as we selected the team to play Tonga it was managing people’s game-time during that game against Tonga, particularly when we got the bonus point,” said Townsend.
“On the six-day turnaround, a couple of those boys who started and some on the bench would have to play.
“Grant as captain and starting we had known that for a week or two.”
When asked if there is pressure to beat Romania by a big margin, Townsend added: “There is always pressure when you play for Scotland.
“You know you have to play your best rugby, that is what that jersey demands of you.
“It will be a different game to what most of these players are used to. It is not a Six Nations game, there will be times when things will be different.
“It will be a different way of defending, sometimes we will have a lot of ball and sometimes we will make mistakes. The important thing is focusing on each moment and playing as a team.”
Meanwhile, Romania head coach Eugen Apjok is hoping his players take what they learned against Ireland and the Springboks and apply it in a positive way against Scotland.
“We know we are in the death pool,” said Apjok.
“It’s a big challenge for the team and I hope we take something from the first two games.
“It wasn’t what we were looking for but I hope the players will learn a lot of things.
“They understand against Scotland, we need to do it more on the field but I’m sure they’ll give everything and it will be a better game for us.”
Players to watch
For Scotland: Flyhalf Ben Healy gets a chance to prove his worth in that all-important playmaker role. Scotland will be needing direction from him from the start, especially on attack. In the midfield, Cameron Redpath has shown a lot of promise at club level and he has great skills with ball in hand. If there is a lot of space out there, then he will terrorise Romania in that midfield. In the pack, No.7 Hamish Watson will want to stamp his authority on the game, especially at the breakdown.
For Romania: Head coach Eugen Apjok has handed a World Cup debut to former Tonga Sevens international Taliauli Sikuea. Sioeli Lama will also make his RWC debut on the other wing, while replacement front-row forward Costel Burtila could win his first RWC cap. Alin Conache wins his eighth cap but his first as the starting flyhalf. Normally a scrumhalf, Conache has been pressed into action as an emergency No.10 following a tournament-ending injury to Hinckley Vaovasa.
Key RWC info
- Romania will be facing Scotland for the fourth time at the World Cup (also 1987, 2007, 2011), against no other team have they played more often in the tournament (also four v Ireland).
- Gavin Hastings scored 27 points (two tries*, eight conversions and a penalty) in the first-ever World Cup meeting in 1987.
@rugby365com: Scotland by 45 points.
Scotland: 15 Ollie Smith, 14 Darcy Graham, 13 Chris Harris, 12 Cameron Redpath, 11 Kyle Steyn, 10 Ben Healy, 9 Ali Price, 8 Matt Fagerson, 7 Hamish Watson, 6 Luke Crosbie, 5 Grant Gilchrist (captain), 4 Sam Skinner, 3 Javan Sebastian, 2 Ewan Ashman, 1 Jamie Bhatti.
Replacements: 16 Johnny Matthews, 17 Rory Sutherland, 18 WP Nel, 19 Scott Cummings, 20 Rory Darge, 21 George Horne, 22 Blair Kinghorn, 23 Huw Jones.
Romania: 15 Marius Simionescu, 14 Sioeli Lama, 13 Jason Tomane, 12 Fonovai Tangimana, 11 Taliauli Sikuea, 10 Alin Conache, 9 Gabriel Rupanu, 8 Cristi Chirica (captain), 7 Dragos Ser, 6 Florian Rosu, 5 Stefan Iancu, 4 Adrian Motoc, 3 Gheorghe Gajion, 2 Robert Irimescu, 1 Alexandru Savin.
Replacements: 16 Florin Bardasu, 17 Iulian Hartig, 18 Costel Burtila, 19 Marius Iftimiciuic, 21 Damian Stratila, 21 Florin Surugiu, 22 Todor Boldor, 23 Nicolas Onitu.
Date: Saturday, September 30
Venue: Stade Pierre-Mauroy, Lille
Kick-off: 21.00 (19.00 GMT; 20.00 UK & Ireland time; 22.00 EEST)
Expected weather: It will be mostly clear with a temperature around 9C.
Referee: Wayne Barnes (England)
Assistant Referees: Angus Gardner (Australia), James Doleman (New Zealand)
TMO: Brendon Pickerill (New Zealand)