Scotland rack up 12 tries in Romania demolition as Darcy Graham steals show alongside impressive duo
Twelve tries in a 84-0 bonus point win was a highly satisfying return for Gregor Townsend’s side at the Stade Pierre-Mauroy as they chalked up back to back victories at the Rugby World Cup.
Darcy Graham stole the show with four tries and moves into joint second place alongside Tony Stanger and Ian Smith on the all-time Scotland list. The trio have 24 each and only Stuart Hogg, on 27 tries, has more. This was also Scotland’s biggest win at the World Cup since they thrashed Côte d’Ivoire 89-0 in Rustenburg at the 1995 tournament in South Africa.
The bigger picture is that Gregor Townsend's side are on 10 points in Pool B, four fewer than Ireland who they face at the Stade de France next Saturday. If they can find a way to beat the Irish and deny them a bonus point in the process it will be Scotland who qualify for the quarter-finals, probably at their expense. They would remain in Paris and likely face New Zealand in the last eight but let's not get ahead of ourselves.
Scotland were clinical and professional against Romania, as you would expect against a team ranked 19th in the world. The Scots - ranked fifth - had made 13 changes and there were first outings of the tournament for Ben Healy, Javan Sebastian, Luke Crosbie, Hamish Watson and Johnny Matthews, the latter coming off the bench to make his Test debut. The Glasgow Warriors hooker marked the occasion with a try. Townsend had challenged the fringe men to show they were worthy of a place in the squad to face Ireland and Watson and Healy were particularly impressive. Each got a try and there were also scores for Ali Price, Matt Fagerson, Chris Harris, Ollie Smith and Rory Darge.
It took them eight minutes to get off the mark and it was Watson who made the breakthrough. The flanker, pivotal to Scotland for so long, has become more peripheral of late but took full advantage of great work by Cam Redpath. The centre took a tricky pass and made great strides before popping it for the supporting Watson to score. Healy converted from out wide.
Try number two came nine minutes later. Scotland set up the lineout maul and worked the the ball out to Graham in open field and the winger played in Price for the score. The scrum-half returned the favour shortly after, passing to Graham who left the Romanians in his wake. A 21-0 lead in the opening quarter was just the start Scotland were looking for and the only concern was Kyle Steyn who needed treatment on his ankle.
Romania’s misery was compounded when they had three players sin-binned as the clock ticked to half-time. Robert Irimescu, the hooker, was sent for a Bunker review after a high tackle on Healy. Florian Rosu followed him on to the naughty step, guilty of collapsing a maul, and then Marius Simionescu put in a horrible-looking high hit on Ollie Smith. He too was sent for a Bunker review, just as Irimescu returned to the field, the hooker’s offence deemed worthy of only a yellow by the foul play review officer.
There was no let up from Scotland who took full advantage of Romania’s travails with three quick tries before the break. Chris Harris delayed the pass perfectly to set up Graham for his second; Matt Fagerson then crossed just after the high shot on Smith and Graham completed his hat-trick following a lung-busting run by Harris. Six first-half tries, all converted by Healy, meant Scotland led 42-0 at the turn.
Romania had conceded 158 points in their first two games and this was looking even bleaker for them. Harris took just six minutes of the second half to score Scotland’s seventh try. Healy was the architect, his cross kick finding Redpath who fed his centre partner. The only ray of light for the Pool B minnows was that Simionescu was allowed to return, his tackle on Smith classed only as a yellow card. The Scotland full-back didn’t seem unduly bothered and embarked on a mazy run which took him to the Romanian tryline. He appeared to have been stopped short but recovered first to score.
It was all too easy and Healy ran in try No 9 - his first for Scotland - against opponents who were broken. The stand-off converted to make it nine from nine off the tee. A flurry of substitutions followed, including the introduction of Matthews for his Scotland bow.
The Glasgow hooker only joined up with the squad last weekend following the departure of Stuart McInally with a neck injury and he made it a debut to remember by scoring the tenth try following good work by George Horne. Matthews, revelling in his sudden arrival on the world stage, then set up fellow sub Darge for a try which Horne converted.
Scotland weren’t done and Graham bagged his fourth of the match to move even closer to the record held by Hogg, his fellow Hawick man. All 12 tries were converted, 11 by Healy and one by Horne.
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