Report: Scotland 84-0 Romania
Scotland took a commanding 84-0 win from their third Pool B game in the Rugby World Cup 2023 in Lille, with Darcy Graham scoring four tries and Johnny Matthews scoring just 13 minutes into his debut.
Scotland’s first opportunity came from a loose ball. A penalty for offside was put into touch by Ben Healy just over five metres out, and though the lineout was spilled and hacked through by Romania, Darcy Graham picked up, slalomed through the defence and passed to Skinner on the right wing, but it went forward.
The opening score was grabbed by Hamish Watson. It was set up by Cameron Redpath, who broke through in midfield. The inside centre was brought down ten metres short, but he found Watson on his right shoulder and the openside flanker cantered into the corner.
Scotland broke through again in the 13th minute, again down the right as Ollie Smith found Kyle Steyn, who darted into the 22, but a jackal penalty was awarded to Romania and the chance ended.
A second try came in the 17th minute. A driving maul from a lineout on halfway lead to the backs creating space for Darcy to sprint through in midfield, and he passed to Ali Price on his right who scored his first test try in four years.
Four minutes Darcy Graham grabbed a magnificent third. In a reverse of the last try, it was Price who passed to Graham 40 metres out, and he ran round the full back before stepping outside the retreating winger before diving behind the posts.
Romania then made their first visit into the 22 with Jason Tomane rampaging forward, but an excellent jackal from Chris Harris won the penalty and got Scotland up the pitch.
The bonus point was on the cards in the 28th minute, after Ewan Ashman and Scotland’s pack mauled up the right side. Grant Gilchrist’s carry brought Scotland just short, and Smith looked to be in after an excellent line between two defenders, but he couldn’t quite hold Price’s pass and knocked it on over the line.
Romania were reduced to 14 men in the 30th minute when Rob Irimescu tackled Ben Healy, making head contact. The resulting penalty was kicked to the corner, and the maul brought Ashman just short. With penalty advantage Jamie Bhatti thought he had scored, but after a TMO review the officials concluded he was denied just short. Florian Resu was sin binned in the process, and when the penalty was kicked back into touch a maul trundled for the line, but when Ashman broke free he dropped the ball forward in the act of reaching for the line.
The bonus point, much discussed before the game given it’s implications for Pool B and Scotland’s chances of progressing, was secured in the 34th minute as Graham bagged his second. The Romanian defence were stretched as Scotland started on the left, going forward through Steyn, before Darcy found a gap on the right.
The fifth try was scored on the 38th minute, as Ollie Smith was felled on the left five metres out, and quick ball from Price meant Matt Fagerson was charging for the line before Romania’s defence was ready. Marius Simionescu was sin binned for the tackle on Smith,
And with almost the final play of the half Graham bagged his hat-trick. Harris broke through on the left, he passed inside to Price and the scrum-half found Graham on the left wing in plenty space to sprint round and under the sticks.
Half time: Scotland 42-0 Romania
The scoring continued after half time, with the seventh try scored by Harris in the 46th minute. First Scotland attacked the right through Sam Skinner and Graham, then Healy’s kick found Redpath on the left, who offloaded to Harris in space to finish.
Jamie Bhatti looked to have taken Scotland over the 50-point mark from short range in the 48th minute, but upon review TMO review a knock-on was given. Going back for a penalty, Scotland took the lineout and the maul got to within inches. The ball was worked to Graham on the right, but a jackal penalty was awarded to Romania inches short of their line.
The half-century was breached in the 53rd minute. A kick forward from Romania was ran back by Ollie Smith, who slalomed through from 40 metres and was brought down inside five metres from the line. He then had the wherewithal to release the ball, stand up and grab it again before diving over the line.
Five minutes later Ben Healy grabbed his first try for Scotland. Getting the ball on the halfway line, he passed inside to Graham who stepped around his man and charged forward, giving it back to Healy to finish it off.
Romania looked like they would get on the board in the 64th minute, kicking a penalty to the corner and carrying inch by inch through the forwards, but when they did it was held up by Scotland and brought back due to a penalty advantage. Romania went again, but a cross-field kick went straight out and Scotland were afforded an exit.
The crowd in Lille were then treated to a story that would have been unimaginable mere weeks ago. Johnny Matthews, just off the bench to become Scotland’s first World Cup debutant since Josh Strauss against Japan in 2015, raced under the posts after Blair Kinghorn had burst through on the left. Kinghorn then found George Horne, and Horne had Matthews alongside him on his left to finish the move off.
Matthews then turned provider two minutes later, making the break in midfield and passing to Rory Darge on his left to bring us to 77 points.
The magnificent Graham showed incredible footwork to dance around three defenders in the middle of the pitch, reaching the line having started ten metres out and getting his fourth of the night with less than three minutes to play.
Scotland admirably battled for more tries in the final minutes to further benefit their points difference, but they settled for 84 to set up a decider next week in Paris against Ireland knowing they could still reach the knockout stages.
Full time: Scotland 84-0 Romania
Player of the Match: Darcy Graham (Scotland)
Scotland: 15. Ollie Smith (Glasgow Warriors) 14. Darcy Graham (Edinburgh Rugby) 13. Chris Harris (Gloucester) 12. Cameron Redpath (Bath Rugby) 11. Kyle Steyn (Glasgow Warriors) 10. Ben Healy (Edinburgh Rugby) 9. Ali Price 1. Jamie Bhatti (both Glasgow Warriors) 2. Ewan Ashman 3. Javan Sebastian 4. Sam Skinner 5. Grant Gilchrist 6. Luke Crosbie 7. Hamish Watson (all Edinburgh Rugby) 8. Matt Fagerson (Glasgow Warriors)
Replacements: 16. Johnny Matthews (Glasgow Warriors) for Ashman (58 mins) 17. Rory Sutherland (unattached) for Bhatti (58 mins) 18. WP Nel (Edinburgh Rugby) for Sebastian (58 mins) 19. Scott Cummings for Gilchrist (58 mins) 20. Rory Darge for Watson (64 mins) 21. George Horne (all Glasgow Warriors) for Price (54 mins) 22. Blair Kinghorn (Edinburgh Rugby) for Smith (58 mins) 23. Huw Jones (Glasgow Warriors) for Harris (64 mins)
Romania: 15. Marius Simionescu 14. Sioeli Lama 13. Jason Tomane 12. Fonovai Tangimana 11. Taliauli Sikuea 10. Alin Conache 9. Gabriel Rupanu 1. Alexandru Savin 2. Rob Irimescu 3. Gheorghe Gajion 4. Adrian Motoc 5. Stefan Iancu 6. Florian Rosu 7. Dragos Ser 8. Cristian Chirica
Replacements: 16. Florin Bardasu for Irimescu (58 mins) 17. Iulian Hartig for Savin (50 mins) 18. Costel Burtila for Gajion (56 mins) 19. Marius Iftimiciuc for Iancu (60 mins) 20. Damian Stratila 21. Florin Surugiu for Rupanu (60 mins) 22. Tudor Boldor for Conache (52 mins) 23. Nicolas Onutu for Tangimana (56 mins)