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Rugby World Cup: Battle-hardened Romania issue a warning to Ireland

France 38-11 Romania

By Tim Allnutt

Published 24/09/2015

Reaching out: France’s Sofiane Guitoune dives past Romania’s Danut Dumbrava to score his side’s first try
Reaching out: France’s Sofiane Guitoune dives past Romania’s Danut Dumbrava to score his side’s first try

Two tries from Sofiane Guitoune helped France to a battling 38-11 victory over Romania as the 2011 World Cup finalists moved above Ireland to the top of Pool D.

Romania were far from outplayed in their opening match of the tournament but tries in each half from Guitoune and three more from Yannick Nyanga, Wesley Fofana, and Gael Fickou gave France the bonus-point win.

Fofana, one of 13 changes made after the opening win over Italy, was particularly impressive but the French will have to improve overall if they are to overcome more ruthless opposition.

This was the first of five World Cup fixtures being played at the Olympic Stadium and the 55,000-seater arena made for an excellent venue, with both sets of supporters contributing to a buoyant atmosphere throughout.

Romania are yet to make it beyond the pool stages in seven attempts but they showed enough power and purpose here to suggest they can trouble both Italy and Ireland's bid to reach the quarter-finals.

The favourites were inferior in possession, territory and turnovers in the opening 40 as Romania held their own.

Just as in the first period, however, Les Bleus saved their best until the end as two more quick-fire tries put the contest out of Romania's reach.

Guitoune notched his second of the game in the 66th minute with another clinical finish before Fofana powered through two defenders to touch down again three minutes later.

Parra and Rory Kockott added the extras but Romania notched a late consolation when Valentin Ursache was driven over after a line-out.

It was the French, however, who had the last word as a well-worked line-out allowed Fickou to weave his way through and Kockott converted again to put some polish on the victory.

France: Tries: Guitoune 2, Nyanga, Fofana, Fickou; Cons: Parra 3, Kockott 2. Pens: Parra.

France: Dulin, Guitoune, Fickou, Fofana, Nakaitaci, Tales, Parra, Debaty, Szarzewski, Atonio, Le Roux, Flanquart, Nyanga, Ouedraogo, Picamoles; Replacements: Kockott for Parra (67), Ben Arous for Debaty (68), Kayser for Szarzewski (50), Mas for Atonio (50), Chouly for Picamoles (50).

Not Used: Maestri, Michalak, Bastareaud.

Romania: Tries: Radoi. Pens: Vlaicu 2.

Romania: Fercu, Lemnaru, Kinikinilau, Vlaicu, Apostol, Dumbrava, Surugiu, Lazar, Turashvili, Ion, Popirlan, van Heerden, V. Ursache, Lucaci, Macovei; Replacements: Botezatu for Apostol (78), Gal for Dumbrava (47), Calafeteanu for Surugiu (75), A. Ursache for Lazar (72), Radoi for Turashvili (59), Pungea for Ion (80), Tonita for Popirlan (71), Burcea for Lucaci (79).

Sin Bin: Ion (30).

Attendance: 50,626

Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa).

Belfast Telegraph

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