Pumas cut Oaks down to size
Argentina put together a scintillating first-half display of running rugby to brush aside the challenge of Romania, who they beat 43-8 in their World Cup Pool B fixture at Rugby Park in Invercargill on Saturday.
Argentina started like a house on fire scoring two tries in the opening ten minutes, as they moved the big Romanian pack around by playing the game at break-neck speed and winning lightning quick ball.
The win sets up a showdown with Scotland in Wellington next Sunday with the winner in pole position to ensure a slot in the quarterfinals.
The Pumas scored six tries on the back of a storming start to the match before Romania steadied to keep the winning margin down. The Eastern Europeans are now set to make it seven straight failures to get out of the pool stages at the World Cup.
"We were desperate for a win, that was the urgent for us, so we are very happy," said Argentina skipper Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe. "It got a bit messy the game, but we went back to our system and it worked."
Both teams came into the contest needing a win to keep their hopes alive of reaching the last eight, the Pumas having lost 13-9 to England and Romania falling 34-24 to Scotland.
Argentina skipper and flyhalf Felipe Contepomi was absent with bruised ribs and replaced by Montpellier's Santiago Fernandez, who switched from centre, while Romania made three changes to their starting XV all in the backs division.
The Pumas piled on the pressure from the start recovering the ball from an up-and-under to send flyhalf Fernandez scampering under the posts for a 7-0 lead after just five minutes.
Four minutes later it was 14-0 when the Argentina pack muscled their way deep into Romanian territory and when the ball was flung wide, flank Juan Manuel Leguizamon barrelled his way over.
Flyhalf Tiberius Ionut Dimofte got Romania on the scoreboard with a close-range penalty after 13 minutes but it was mainly one-way traffic in the direction of the Romanian goalposts.
Argentina declined two kickable penalties as they went after the four tries that would ensure them a bonus fifth point and that paid dividends after 21 minutes when the Pumas pack combined in the loose for prop Juan Figallo to bulldoze his way over.
The South Americans were totally dominant at the breakdown, procuring a succession of quick balls for their backs and it was a solo break through the middle that brought the fourth try from dangerous fullback Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino.
Romania threatened for the first time with a break down the right wing and when the ball was spun out left from the breakdown the East Europeans had an extra man out wide and centre Ionel Cazan dived over to make it 26-8 at half-time.
The Oaks bravely dug deep in the second half when reduced to 14 men but constant Argentine pressure finally broke them down in the 64th minute when replacement Juan Jose Imhoff came off his wing to speed through the centre and score under the posts.
Man of the Match: Elusive Pumas fullback Lucas González Amorosino stood out. He was electric on the ball and caused havoc for the Romanian defenders with his swerving runs and deadly finishing.
Moment of the Match: Amorosino's try to clinch the bonus point was a superb effort and killed off any hope Romania had of staying in the contest.
Villain of the Match: Nobody.
Tries: Fernández, Leguizamón, Figallo, Amorosino, Imhoff, Fessia
Cons: Rodríguez 5
Yellow card(s): Mihaita Lazar (Romania, 54th minute - repeated cynical infringements).
Argentina: 15 Lucas González Amorosino, 14 Gonzalo Camacho, 13 Marcelo Bosch, 12 Martín Rodríguez, 11 Horacio Agulla, 10 Santiago Fernández, 9 Nicolás Vergallo, 8 Juan Martín Fernández Lobbe (captain), 7 Juan Manuel Leguizamón, 6 Alejandro Campos, 5 Patricio Albacete, 4 Manuel Carizza, 3 Juan Figallo, 2 Mario Ledesma, 1 Rodrigo Roncero.
Replacements: 16 Agustín Creevy, 17 Martín Scelzo, 18 Mariano Galarza, 19 Alejandro Campos, 20 Alfredo Lalanne, 21 Nicolás Sánchez, 22 Juan Imhoff.
Romania: 15 Iulian Dumitras, 14 Madalin Lemnaru, 13 Csaba Gal, 12 Constantin Gheara, 11 Ionel Cazan, 10 Tiberius Dimofte, 9 Florin Surugiu, 8 Daniel Carpo, 7 Ovidiu Tonita, 6 Mihai Macovei, 5 Cristian Petre, 4 Valentin Ursache, 3 Paulica Ion, 2 Marius Tincu (captain), 1 Mihaita Lazar.
Replacements: 16 Bogdan Suman, 17 Silviu Florea, 18 Valentin Poparlan, 19 Daniel Ianus, 20 Valentin Calafeteanu, 21 Marin Dumbrava, 22 Florin Vlaicu.
Referee: Steve Walsh