Romania 46-7 Cook Islands
Romania underlined their IRB Junior World Rugby Trophy title credentials with a resounding 46-7 victory over a battling Cook Islands side at the Estadio San Carlos in Santiago on Saturday to remain unbeaten in Pool A.
Determined to atone for their second half performance in Tuesday’s nail-biting 28-26 victory over Namibia, Romania were given the perfect start when their powerful number 8 Bogdan Petreanu opened the scoring in the ninth minute. Fly half Alin Georgescu’s conversion established a 7-0 lead in a half which they completely dominated.
Despite the Cook Islands’ best attempts to prevent the floodgates from opening, Romania’s powerful forwards took complete control and created an opportunity for captain Alexandru Valcu to crash over for his side’s second try. Georgescu’s conversion extended Romania’s lead to 14 points entering the second quarter.
The Romanians continued to press, but were prevented from scoring a further try until the 32nd minute of the match when the impressive Petreanu crossed the try line for his second five pointer to leave his side with a commanding 19-0 lead at the interval.
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Defeated 33-10 in their opening encounter by hosts Chile, the Cook Islands to their credit were heroic in defence, but were unable to repel Romania’s advances in a second half dominated by their forward pack.
Barely six minutes had elapsed before the Romanians crossed for their fourth try of the match with second row Cristian Munteanu finishing off an impressive move inside the Cook Islands half. Georgescu’s conversion stretched the advantage to 26-0, although within three minutes that had become 31-0 as Munteanu crossed for his second try.
The Cook Islands hit back midway through the half as replacement Patella Tou crossed the line for a well deserved try, which gave his side hope. However, trailing 31-7, they were faced with a mountain to climb and the hope was to be shortlived as Romania scored three tries in the final 10 minutes to secure the victory.
Replacement front row Constantin Dumitru crashed over 10 minutes from time before his fellow replacement Georgel Catuna and flanker Alexandru Beldean rounded off an impressive performance for the Romanians.
Romania will next face hosts Chile in the crunch match at Stade Francais Club on Wednesday 23 April at 16:00 local time, while the Cook Islands meet Namibia in the 16:00 kick off at Estadio San Carlos in Santiago.
Cook Islands coach Nooroa Maui: "I am a bit disappointed, though credit to the boys they tried hard. We tried to work out a game plan, but nothing came out of it. It simply did not eventuate. Maybe the boys were not hungry enough, maybe the Romanians were too strong, maybe our defence was not quick enough, or perhaps a combination of all those. Our next match against Namibia will be very difficult, as they are big, strong and very fast. However, overall we did a good job. I am proud of my boys."
Cook Islands scrum half Tepou Nipurahi: "I reckon our forwards did not get in numbers at the point of breakdown and we also lost the set piece battle, so we had very little ball for our backs. The backs did not do too badly, but the Romanian forwards were too big and strong."
Romania head coach Adrian Costache: “I am pleased with the performance overall. Compared to the Namibia match we made progress. Our discipline was very good and we did not lose the ball in contact. The defence was also reasonable. We will improve even more for the Chilean match."
Romania assistant coach Virgil Nastase: "I am pleased with the improvement. The boys applied the game plan without fault and controlled the game from the beginning to the end. There is still a lot of room for improvement though ahead of the Chile match.”
Romania captain Alexandru Valcu: "I am delighted. It is my first match as captain of the country and naturally I am delighted. Everything went according to plan and I am pleased that we kept our concentration throughout, though I felt at one point that we started coasting. The boys came back into the game and we finished on a high note. I hope that this will give us a bonus point."