Ten-try England rout Romania
Ten-try England rout RomaniaSHARE
England ran in 10 tries as they thrashed Romania 67-3 in their Pool B match in Dunedin on Saturday to move a step nearer the World Cup quarterfinals.
Mark Cueto marked his first appearance of this tournament with a hat-trick and fellow wing Chris Ashton also scored three tries.
Victory made it three wins out of three in Pool B for England, bidding to reach a third straight World Cup Final, ahead of their final group game against old foes Scotland in Auckland next weekend.
By contrast for Romania, showing 11 changes to the team beaten 43-8 last time out by Argentina, this was a third successive defeat ahead of their ‘winnable’ finale against fellow emerging nation Georgia.
“We looked at our performances last week and we had a lot to improve on and we did that today. We’ve still got areas to work on but the performance across the board was much better,” said England captain Lewis Moody.
“That’s what happens when we keep hold of the ball and do the basics right.”
At least there was no repeat of England’s all-time Test record 134-0 win against Romania when the teams last met, at Twickenham in 2001.
Left wing Cueto, who suffered a back injury in England’s final warm-up match against Ireland last month, had a treble before half-time with his side running in six tries in the opening period.
But England manager Martin Johnson, the 2003 World Cup-winning captain, would also have been pleased by a reduced penalty count with his team infringing six times in the first 40 minutes compared to 11 penalties conceded in the first half of their 41-10 victory against Georgia.
With the roof of the Otago Stadium providing shelter from the rain outside, Jonny Wilkinson – recalled after missing five of eight goalkicks in England’s opening 13-9 win over Argentina – nailed a first minute, 37-metre, penalty.
England botched a couple of early chances but kept their composure and were rewarded in the 15th minute when Ashton, coming across from the right wing, scythed through the defence and released Cueto for a try in the left corner.
Wilkinson missed the difficult conversion but seven minutes later centre Mike Tindall, putting the off-field controversy caused by his night out drinking in Queenstown behind him, stepped inside and delivered a defence-splitting pass that set up Cueto’s second try.
This time flyhalf Wilkinson, the drop-goal hero of the 2003 World Cup Final, added the conversion.
And in the 26th minute the 31-yearo-old Cueto, winning his 54th England cap, had his hat-trick after back row forwards James Haskell and Tom Croft linked well to exploit an overlap.
Ashton then got in on the act with two tries in three minutes towards the end of the half as he outpaced a tiring defence.
But Romania did at least get on the scoreboard before the interval when flyhalf Marin Danut Dumbrava kicked a 38th minute penalty.
However, that still left England 34-3 up at the break.
Wilkinson was substituted at half-time when in sight of regaining the world record for Test points from New Zealand’s Dan Carter.
But England still caught Romania cold at the start of the second period.
Ben Youngs took the ball off the base of a scrum from inside his own 22 and the scrumhalf then dummied his way through a gap before passing to Samoa-born centre Manu Tuilagi and then taking a return ball for a fine try.
Both teams made several substitutions before the powerful Tuilagi burst through some half-hearted tackles on the hour mark for England’s eighth try.
Croft got on the end of a good handling move to cross Romania’s line before the speedy Ashton grabbed his third and England’s tenth try 10 minutes from time.
Man of the Match: It is difficult in such a dominant performance, against such weak opposition, to accurately assess the true value of players. This makes the two hat-trick heroes – Mark Cueto and Chris Ashton – our best candidates. We are going for Chris Ashton, who had to work a bit harder for his tries and also popped up on the left wing quite a bit.
Moment of the Match: Again, several candidates, but we are going for Mark Cueto’s third try. England showed they can score from set pieces. England moved the ball out to the near side, where they had numbers and Cueto finished the move in style.
Villain of the match: None.
Tries: Cueto 3, Ashton 3, Youngs, Foden, Tuilagi, Croft
Cons: Wilkinson 3, Flood 4
England: 15 Ben Foden, 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Manu Tuilagi, 12 Mike Tindall, 11 Mark Cueto, 10 Jonny Wilkinson, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 James Haskell, 7 Lewis Moody (captain), 6 Tom Croft, 5 Tom Palmer, 4 Louis Deacon, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Steve Thompson, 1 Alex Corbisiero.
Replacements: 16 Lee Mears, 17 David Wilson, 18 Simon Shaw, 19 Tom Wood, 20 Richard Wigglesworth, 21 Toby Flood, 22 Delon Armitage.
Romania: 15 Florin Vlaicu, 14 Stefan Ciuntu, 13 Ionel Cazan, 12 Iulian Dumitras, 11 Adrian Apostol, 10 Marin Dumbrava, 9 Lucian Sirbu, 8 Ovidiu Tonita, 7 Sandu Burcea, 6 Cosmin Ratiu, 5 Cristian Petre (captain), 4 Valentin Poperlan, 3 Silviu Florea, 2 Bogdan Zebega, 1 Nicolae Nere.
Replacements: 16 Marius Tincu, 17 Paulica Ion, 18 Mihai Macovei, 19 Daniel Ianus, 20 Valentin Calefeteanu, 21 Csaba Gal, 22 Catalin Nicolae.
Referee: Romain Poite (France)
Assistant referees: Jonathan Kaplan (South Africa), Simon McDowell (Ireland)
TMO: Shaun Veldsman (South Africa)