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Last Updated: Thursday, 30 October, 2003, 10:58 GMT
Romania ease past Namibia
Namibia 7-37 Romania
Lucian Sirbu on his way to the line for Romania
Namibia: 7
Try: Isaacs
Con: Wessels
Romania: 37
Tries: Petrichei, Sirbu, Chiriac, Teodorescu, Sauan
Pens: Tofan (2)
Cons: Tofan (3)

Romania secured their opening World Cup victory in a lacklustre match against lowly Namibia in Launceston on Thursday.

In the first ever game between the sides - and the only rugby union Test to have taken place in Tasmania - the east Europeans put on a solid display to run out easy winners.

Romania finished with five tries, with Namibia managing just one - through impressive lock Eben Isaacs.

The highlight of the evening came in the 70th minute when Namibian fly-half Rudi van Vuuren became the first player to represent his country in both a cricket and rugby World Cup.

With both sides grouped alongside Australia, Argentina and Ireland, the match represented a minor 'final' and Romania will be satisfied with their performance.

Namibia were on the receiving end of the World Cup's biggest winning margin when Australia hammered them 142-0 five days ago.

And their fortunes continued to slump on Thursday.

We finished the World Cup in 14th place and scored five tries - I would like to thank the Romanian players
Romania coach Bernard Charreyre

Romania, themselves hammered 90-8 by Australia, got off to a flying start and looked far superior.

Despite some sloppy handling from both sides, the 'Oaks' shoved their opponents around with ease up front and, but for some superb last-ditch tackles, could have been even further out of sight at the break.

As it was, Romania moved into the second half with four tries under their belt.

Lock Augustin Petrichei, scrum-half Lucian Sirbu, flanker George Chiriac and wing Ioan Teodorescu were the recipients with fly-half Ionut Tofan grabbing 12 points with the boot.

The Africans offered little in terms of opposition. In defence they were found wanting time and again, missing 27 tackles before the half-time whistle was blown.

The impressive crowd might have been hoping for less of the same in the second period - but they were sadly treated to more.

To get the guys together (after losing to Australia) was tough but we did it, we played good
Namibia captain Sean Furter

The Namibian back row of Sean Furter, Wolfie Duvenhage and Schalk van der Merwe did prove effective around the park.

But they lacked support and any hard-won ball was soon frittered away.

Namibian scrum-half Neil Swanepoel was worryingly carted off the field on a stretcher to darken a half that had started somewhat comically thanks to full-back Ronaldo Pedro.

While attempting to catch a high ball, it instead bounced off the Namibian's shoulder. And if that was not enough he then fell over his own leg - much to the amusement of the crowd.

The moment was a rare treat, but the biggest cheer of the night was reserved for Namibia's sole score when lock Isaacs unfurled a huge arm to touch down.

Emile Wessels added the conversion before Van Vuuren created his own piece of history - and the only reason why this match will linger in the memory - despite a late Romanian try from substitute Cristian Sauan.


Romania: D Dumbrava; I Teodorescu, V Maftei, R Gontineac (capt), G Brezoianu; I Tofan, L Sirbu; S Socol, O Tonita, G Chiriac, C Petre, A Petrichei, M Socaciu, R Mavrodin, P Balan.

Replacements: C Popescu, P Todersac, S Florea, M Tudori, I Andrei, C Sauan, M Vioreanu

Namibia: R Pedro; D Mouton, D Grobler, E Wessels, V Dreyer; M Schreuder, N Swanepoel; K Lensing, J Meyer, N Du Toit; H Senekal, E Isaacs; S Van Der Merwe, W Duvenhage, S Furter (capt).

Replacements: C Van Tonder, A Blaauw, H Lintvelt, J Van Lill, R Van Vuuren, D Grunschloss, C Powell.





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