Italy too strong for Romania

Date published: October 11 2015

Italy finished their Rugby World Cup campaign on a high with a 32-22 victory over Romania at Sandy Park in Exeter on Sunday.

The four-tries-to-three victory ensures the Azzurri qualify directly for Rugby World Cup 2019 in Japan as they finish third in Pool D, with two wins from their four games. 

The scoreline will perhaps add weight to calls for Romania's inclusion into an expanded Six Nations tournament but, to be fair, they looked well beaten on the hour mark.

It's a tough argument because the Oaks need more exposure to Tier-One competition if they are to continue their progress, but they were a step below Italy in most sectors of a hard-fought game that saw the Italian pack match their powerful opponents from Eastern Europe for sheer grunt.

Romania dominated the stats both in terms of possession and territory but they struggled to contain the Italian attack, with the Azzurri making double the amount of line breaks as they beat 22 defenders. 

Italy ran in three unanswered tries to lead 22-3 at the interval as wing Leonardo Sarto and half-back duo Edoardo Gori and Tommaso Allan all touched down. 

Number eight Alessandro Zanni scored early in the second half to secure the bonus point and put the final result beyond doubt – although Romania did their best to repeat the comeback heriocs of last week's win over Canada.

The Oaks kept fighting and finished strongly with three tries in the final quarter – two via replacement wing Adrian Apostol.  

First Apostol bashed his way over the whitewash off the back of a powerful scrum before lock Valentin Poparlan went over at the back of a maul.  

Apostol dived into the corner in the dying minutes to add some gloss to the scoreline.

Man of the match: A few candidates to consider from both teams including Tommaso Allan, who finished with 17 points, but we'll go for Edoardo Gori, who was a real livewire and deserved his try.

Moment of the match: Romania were hanging in there, but Allan's try just before half time gave Italy the lead they needed to see out the game.

Villain of the match: Nothing rough enough to mention.

The scorers:

For Italy:
Tries: Sarto, Gori, Allan, Zanni
Cons: Allan 3
Pens: Allan 2

For Romania:
Tries: Apostol 2, Poparlan
Cons: Vlaicu 2
Pen: Vlaicu
Yellow card: Van Heerden

Italy: 15 Luke McLean, 14 Leonardo Sarto, 13 Michele Campagnaro, 12 Tommaso Benvenuti, 11 Giovanbattista Venditti, 10 Tommaso Allan, 9 Edoardo Gori, 8 Alessandro Zanni, 7 Simone Favaro, 6 Francesco Minto, 5 Josh Furno, 4 Quintin Geldenhuys (captain), 3 Lorenzo Cittadini, 2 Andrea Manici, 1 Matias Aguero.
Replacements: 16 Davide Giazzon, 17 Alberto De Marchi, 18 Dario Chistolini, 19 Valerio Bernabò, 20 Samuela Vunisa, 21 Guglielmo Palazzani, 22 Carlo Canna, 23 Enrico Bacchin.

Romania: 15 Catalin Fercu, 14 Madalin Lemnaru, 13 Paula Kinikinilau, 12 Florin Vlaicu, 11 Ionut Botezatu, 10 Michael Wiringi, 9 Valentin Calafeteanu, 8 Daniel Carpo, 7 Viorel Lucaci, 6 Valentin Ursache (c), 5 Johannes van Heerden, 4 Valentin Poparlan, 3 Paulica Ion, 2 Otar Turashvili, 1 Mihaita Lazar.
Replacements: 16 Andrei Radoi, 17 Andrei Ursache, 18 Horatiu Pungea, 19 Marius Antonescu, 20 Stelian Burcea, 21 Tudorel Bratu, 22 Adrian Apostol, 23 Csaba Gal.

Venue: Sandy Park, Exeter
Referee: Romain Poite (France)
Assistant Referees: George Clancy (Ireland), Mathieu Raynal (France)
TMO: Ben Skeen (New Zealand)