Scottish winger Darcy Graham particularly shone against Romania, in a Rugby World Cup group match, at the Pierre-Mauroy stadium, in Lille, September 30, 2023. MICHEL SPINGLER / AP
The kilts twirled for much of the night from Saturday September 30 to Sunday October 1 in the lively streets of Old Lille. Scottish fans were still celebrating their rugby team’s crushing victory against the almost non-existent Romanians. The performance was quite exceptional, it must be admitted: twelve tries scored and converted and not a single point conceded thanks to fierce defense. When the English referee Wayne Barns whistled the end of the match at the Pierre-Mauroy stadium, the score (84-0) caused the umpteenth ola in the stands won by the XV du Chardon.
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Were Scottish coach Gregor Townsend’s men inspired by New Zealand’s show of strength the day before against Italy? Still they won “with the manner” as pointed out by their coach when interviewed at a press conference. Like the All Blacks, they showed their teeth in order to remember the good memories of the commentators who already put Ireland and South Africa at the top of Pool B and therefore qualified for the quarter-finals. Thanks to its improved victory, Scotland remains in the race. Everything will therefore be decided on Saturday October 7 during his duel with Ireland, which will have the appearance of a Six Nations Tournament. The two teams know each other well and even if Ireland is the favorite, nothing is decided, as Saturday’s demonstration proved.
From the first minutes of the match, Scotland showed its ambitions by not taking three easy points while benefiting from a penalty almost in front of the poles. Throughout the match, the objective remained the same: to score tries thanks to a determined forward pack and very strong back lines like winger Darcy Graham, author of a quadruple. “They were really fast and the contacts were very rough”confided, disappointed, the second row and Romanian captain, Adrian Motoc.
The match was by definition unbalanced: Scotland, the fifth nation in the world, met Romania, which is only in nineteenth place, but we expected more suspense. The Romanians, aka the Oaks team, normally like to challenge themselves physically and are often punchy in scrums and rucks. This was not the case this time. “We need to get back to the basics of rugby,” recognized Adrian Motoc under the black eye of his coach, Eugen Apjok, visibly dismayed by the poor performance of his players who also showed themselves to be very undisciplined. At the end of the first half, the Oaks received three yellow cards in less than ten minutes, and had to play with twelve players for a short period of time. Fatigue obviously took over.
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