Romanian Scrum Reigns Supreme

Romania Oaks Canada Rugby ScrumSome days it’s hard to pin down exactly what went wrong. Others, it hits you like a Moe special right across the chops. This was clearly one of those days. Canada were absolutely pulverized by the Romanian scrum in one of the most one-sided displays of forward power in recent memory. It was so bad that in the second half it seemed as though Romania were sadistically knocking the ball on intentionally just to have another go.

It’s almost pointless to look at any other facet of the game. Canada’s only task with ball in hand was to protect the ball, and they failed comprehensively in that regard. Poor passes, knock-ons, inaccuracy at the breakdown. It made for dreadful watching. The only moments of any brightness were in the wide spaces, where D.T.H. van der Merwe and Jeff Hassler looked a class apart, but once again they were all but starved of possession, the ball lodged in a midfield quagmire.

Romania did nothing with the ball. The pounded it up with the forwards or kicked for position. Not once did they look to their outside backs. Not once did they offer any invention or subtlety. They had a game plan and executed it to perfection. The problem, from a Canadian perspective, is that it was bleedingly obvious long before the match kicked off. That Canada was unable to offer a counter strategy was utterly depressing.

The sight of Hubert Buydens repeatedly approaching referee Nick Briant with arms outstretched, begging for mercy, was hopelessly pathetic. Whether the Romanian front row were taking liberties was irrelevant. This is international rugby. Props get away with murder every game, that’s why it’s referred to as the ‘dark arts’. Canada simply needs to be more street smart. Jason Marshall, Andrew Tiedemann, Doug Wooldridge. Three tightheads, all chewed up and spit out like dollar store bubblegum. Humiliations galore.

So ends an awful year for Canadian rugby. It’s not good enough to point at the weak domestic competition any more. Kieran Crowley has made strides with the Canadian team but appears to have reached his zenith. Canada has some quality players but the total is not equal to the sum of its parts. Sure, there’s still about 300 days until the World Cup, but that applies to everyone else too. Based on what we’ve seen in the last few weeks, Canada is skidding laps behind the pack.

ROMANIA 18 vs 9 CANADA
Saturday, November 22, 16:30 GMT, Bucharest

SCORING
05 mins – J. Pritchard pen 0-3
29 mins – F. Vlaicu pen 3-3
38 mins – F. Vlaicu pen 6-3
48 mins – G. McRorie pen 6-6
50 mins – F. Vlaicu pen 9-6
55 mins – F. Vlaicu pen 12-6
58 mins – J. Pritchad pen 12-9
60 mins – F. Vlaicu pen 15-9
71 mins – F. Vlaicu pen18-9

ROMANIA
C. Fercu; D. Manole, C. Gál (F. Ioniţă 12), R. Dascalu, I. Botezatu; F. Vlaicu, V. Calafeteanu (F. Surugiu 76); M. Lazăr (A. Ursache 68), O. Turashvili (A. Radoi 62), H. Pungea (P. Ion 61); A. Coste (M. Antonescu 68), V. Popârlan; M. Macovei (capt.) (V. Nistor 52-58), V. Ursache, S. Burcea.

CANADA
J. Pritchard (J. Wilson-Ross 74); J. Hassler (N. Blevins 76), C. Trainor, C. Hearn, D.T.H. van der Merwe; P. Parfrey (S. White 66), G. McRorie; H. Buydens, A. Carpenter (R. Barkwill 46), J. Marshall (A. Tiedemann HT); J. Cudmore, J. Phelan; J. Sinclair, N. Dala (K. Gilmour 62), T. Ardron (capt.) (R. Thorpe HT {D. Wooldridge 72}).

Referee: N. Briant (NZRU)
Assistants: A. McMenemy (SRU) & L. Linton (SRU)
TMO: G. Warren (RFU)

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