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England 67-3 Romania | Rugby World Cup Pool B match report

September 24th, 2011 by · No Comments · Features

• England 67-3 Romania
• Watch World Cup video highlights, interviews and more
• Re-live the match in Tom Lutz’s minute-by-minute report

England, thanks to a 25-minute hat-trick from Mark Cueto in his first game of the tournament and another from the other wing Chris Ashton, at last shook off the shackles and all but booked their place in the quarter-finals with a 10-try beating of Romania in Dunedin.

They now wait for Scotland and Argentina to do the honours in Wellington to know who their likely opponents in two weeks will be. Before then, of course, comes a final pool match and their former coach, Andy Robinson whose side are not only quietly comfortable about Wellington, but looking to get at the Auld Enemy.

England may have been helped on their way by Romeo Gontineac, who rested all but four of the Romanian team that played Argentina, but the back three of Cueto, Ashton and Ben Foden had one of those nights which may make some of the bigger teams sit up and take notice. Add the power of Manu Tuilagi, the industry of Tom Croft and James Haskell and it was a decent night for the England manager Martin Johnson, even if the place kicking was less than 100%.

His side were three points up in under two minutes when Romania were caught offside but reverted to type in the fifth minute squandering the chance of their first try by hanging on in the tackle. After all the soul searching that followed that frustrating penalty-ridden performance against Georgia it was hardly the way to start.

Another good position was squandered for obstruction at an attacking line out, but England’s adventure was rewarded in the 15 minute when Ashton was too quick and too strong for the cover. The Northampton wing shoved the first would-be tackler aside, then ran away from the rest to put the ball on a plate for Cueto, back after his back problems and already looking sharp.

Out wide and at pace, England were a real threat and with the Romanian defence being pulled from side to side, midfield holes started to appear and in the 22nd minute Mike Tindall, who has had his troubles of late, spotted one big enough for Cueto to slide through and the Sale winger was on the board for a second time with a third just five minutes away.

Tindall was again the man to start it, winning a midfield turn-over before getting the ball wide to Wilkinson. Haskell and Croft relayed the ball further left and Cueto was home and dry, although for the second time Wilkinson missed the conversion. No matter, practice was coming thick and fast.

This time it was Wilkinson the architect, a flick inside finding the other England wing coming on an angle that was far too clever for the cover and Ashton took the England lead out to 25 points after 32 minutes, running around behind the posts to make the kick a certainty. He showed less consideration for the kicker two minutes later, scooting down the right for his second and England’s fifth, but Wilkinson converted anyway to bring England’s scoring up to 34 at a point a minute.

Marin Dumbrava kicked one penalty and hit the upright with a second when Steve Thompson saved England’s bacon with a cynical boot, but at 34-3 England had played their best half of the competition and more tries were on the way.

Twenty seconds into the second half, Tuilagi ran down the right to put Ben Youngs in. Toby Flood – on for Wilkinson at half time – could not add the points either, although he did announce himself with a 60-yard touch finder which set up Foden’s try, care of Tuilagi who then got one of his own to bring up the half century with 20 minutes to go. Croft, Ashton for a third time, completed the scoring.

Ten years ago at Twickenham it was 134-0, but 67-3 will do for now.

England: Foden (Armitage 51); Ashton, Tuilagi, Tindall, Cueto; Wilkinson (Flood ht), Youngs (Wigglesworth 61); Corbisiero (Cole 58), Thompson (Mears 50), Cole (Wilson ht), Deacon (Shaw 58), Palmer), Croft (Leicester), Moody (capt, Wood 61), Haskell

Tries: Cueto 3, Ashton 3, Youngs, Foden, Tuilagi, Croft

Cons: Wilkinson 3, Flood 4. Pen: Wilkinson

Romania: Vlaicu (Nicolae 71); Ciuntu, Cazan (Gal 42), Dumitras, Apostol; Dumbrava, Sirbu (Calafeteanu ht); Nere, Suman (Tincu 50), Florea (Ion 61), Poparlan, Petre (capt 52), Burcea, Ratiu (Ianus 59),Tonita.

Pen: Dumbrava

Ref: Romain Poite (France)

 

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