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Last Updated: Wednesday, 27 August, 2003, 19:59 GMT 20:59 UK
Wales win at last
WALES 54-8 ROMANIA
Mike Phillips crossed for a try on his international debut
Wales (30) 54
Tries: S Williams (2), M Phillips, A Popham, N Brew, G Thomas. Cons: G Henson (6). Pens: Henson (4).
Romania (8) 8
Try: P Balan. Pen: D Dumbrava.
Att: 4,000
An experimental Wales side ended the country's 11-game losing run with a comprehensive win over Romania at the Racecourse, Wrexham.

The home 15, composed mostly of players on the fringes of the Wales World Cup squad, made a play for places in Australia with a six-try showing.

Wales' first victory in nine months was delivered thanks to a perfect kicking display from full-back Gavin Henson, who contributed 24 points, and tries from debut-makers Mike Phillips and Nathan Brew.

It was a disappointing display from an indisciplined Romania side, who had hoped to trouble Wales with their forward power.

The victory is just Wales' fifth since Steve Hansen took over as coach 19 months ago - although Gwent Dragons coach Mike Ruddock was in temporary charge of the squad for this game.

There was apprehension at the losing streak and we had to go back to basics
Wales stand-in coach Mike Ruddock
It was a dream start for Wales, and for winger Shane Williams on his return to the international fold.

The home side disrupted a defensive Romanian scrum, leading to turnover ball in midfield which was quickly sent to Williams who crossed in the corner.

The Oaks fired straight back, choosing to punt a kickable penalty to the corner, winning the driving line-out and dropping prop Petru Balan easily over the line.

Good carrying work from Jon Thomas and Andy Marinos paved the way for Phillips to get the next try, the Scarlets scrum-half showing strength and pace to dummy over from 10m.

Wales' forwards, eager to make a mark with the World Cup squad soon to be announced, were beginning to get on top, locks Brent Cockbain and Ian Gough to the fore, before the latter left the field with a rib injury.

Shane Williams crosses for his second-minute try
Williams' dancing feet led to two tries for the Ospreys wing
After the exciting opening, the rest of the half petered away as the Romanians repeatedly killed the ball, but with the break looming Alix Popham directed an effective rolling maul to cross for a converted score.

Romania tried to mix it up with Wales at the start of the second period, but their indiscipline cost them as Balan was sent to the sin bin for a 44th-minute shoulder charge.

The Oaks' defence was getting inreasingly desperate, and a lovely inside pass from fly-half Nicky Robinson was enough to send Brew in for his first international try.

The dispirited visitors were soon down to 13 men, hooker Marius Tincu seeing yellow after a senseless off-the-ball stamp.

From brutal to beautiful, Shane Williams' dancing feet created the next score, his nifty footwork seeing him through the Oaks' line before offloading to Gavin Thomas for the try.

HAVE YOUR SAY
Romania tried desperately to stop Wales breaking the 50-point barrier and - despite moments of magic from Henson and Williams - they succeeded, until the seventh-minute of injury time.

A tap penalty was shovelled across the back line and it fell to the man who had started the scoring to round it off, Williams dancing over for another converted try.


Wales: Gavin Henson (Neath-Swansea Ospreys); Nathan Brew (Newport Gwent Dragons), Matthew Watkins (Llanelli Scarlets), Andy Marinos (Newport Gwent Dragons), Shane Williams (Neath-Swansea Ospreys); Nicky Robinson (Cardiff Blues), Mike Phillips (Llanelli Scarlets); Paul James (Neath-Swansea Ospreys), Mefin Davies (Celtic Warriors, capt), Ben Evans (Cardiff Blues), Ian Gough (Newport Gwent Dragons), Brent Cockbain (Celtic Warriors), Jonathan Thomas (Neath-Swansea Ospreys), Gavin Thomas (Neath-Swansea Ospreys), Alix Popham (Leeds).
Replacements: Paul Young (Newport Gwent Dragons), Chris Anthony (Newport Gwent Dragons), Deiniol Jones (Celtic Warriors), James Bater (Neath-Swansea Ospreys), Gareth Wyatt (Celtic Warriors), Jon Bryant (Celtic Warriors), Andy Williams (Neath-Swansea Ospreys).

Romania: Daniel Dumbrava (Steaua Bucharest); Cristian Sauan (Rovigo), Valentin Maftei (Aurillac), Romeo Gontineac (Aurillac, capt), Gabriel Brezoianu (Dax); Ionut Tofan (Metro Racing Paris), Lucian Sirbu (Metro Racing Paris); Petru Balan (Biarritz), Marius Tincu (Pau), Marcel Socaciu (Rovigo), Sorin Socol (Agen), Petre Cristian (Metro Racing Paris), George Chiriac (Farul Constanta), Ovidiu Tonita (Biarritz), Costica Mersoiu (Steaua Bucharest).
Replacements: Dan Tudosa (Metro Racing Paris), Petrisor Toderasc (Farul Constanta), Cezar Popescu (Steaua Bucharest), Augustin Petrichei (Perpignan), Dan Tudori (unattached), Iulian Andrei (Steaua Bucharest), Ioan Teodorescu (Kluj University).

Referee: Andrew Turner (South Africa)




WATCH AND LISTEN
Wales stand-in coach Mike Ruddock
"We needed good old-fashioned passion"



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