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Last Updated: Thursday, 25 September, 2003, 17:19 GMT 18:19 UK
Form guide: Romania
Romania in action against England back in 2001
Romania enjoyed a solid World Cup build-up
Romania have both enjoyed and endured their rugby in the lead-up to their trip down under.

The Oaks picked up wins over Spain, Russia and the Czech Republic in the European Nations Cup as well as World Cup rivals Georgia.

However, they also came unstuck in their first game of the season against Portugal and found themselves on the receiving end against France and Wales.

Romanian captain Romeo Gontineac blamed the defeat to Portugal on a lack of concentration, when despite outscoring their opponents two tries to one, they lost 16-15.

Their concentration was back to the fore two weeks later against Portugal's Iberian neighbours Spain.

Romania cruised past their European rivals in Madrid, putting up a superb defence to halt all Spanish attempts to cross the try line.

In a tense first half, the game was dominated by the boot, but come the second the visitors ran away with the match scoring three tries in the process from Sorin Socol, Ionut Tofan and Alin Petrichei.

FORM IN 2003
22 Feb: Port'gl 16-15 Romania
9 Mar: Spain 6-31 Romania
22 Mar: Romania 23-12 Russia
30 Mar: Georgia 6-19 Romania
22 Jun: Czech R 5-42 Romania

A fortnight later, the Romanians played their only game of the season on home soil.

Despite falling 3-6 behind Russia after 40 minutes, they got the better of their rivals in Bucharest in a scintillating second half.

Centre Mihai Vioreanu gave the Oaks the early boost needed after the break with a 20-metre breakaway try, before Petrache ensured victory with another touchdown.

But Romania's biggest game of the year came in Tbilisi, when 40,000 turned out to watch them overwhelm Georgia.

The Georgians managed just two penalties, while Romania sealed a memorable win with tries from Gabriel Brezoianu, Gontineac and Valentin Maftei.

Gontineac's men sealed second spot in the European Nations Cup in June with victory in their weather-delayed game against the Czech Republic, cruising to a 42-5 win in their final full international before the World Cup.

Gareth Thomas of Wales is tackled by Draos Dima
Romania found the Welsh match hard going

Having got the better of many of Europe's lowlier opponents, Romania tested how far they had progressed with warm-up games against France and Wales.

They were found wanting, shipping more than 50 points in each match.

Romania's solitary try in the two outings came from Gabriel Brezoianu against the French.

The European minnows could take heart that despite defeat, their efforts were a vast improvement on the 134-0 mauling by England at the end of 2001.

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