Rugby Union: Wales replace Copsey

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The Independent Online
WALES have called up a big gun for next week's step into the unknown by introducing the 6ft 10in Derwyn Jones into their party for their vital World Cup ranking match against Romania in Bucharest.

The Cardiff lock will take over among the replacements from his Llanelli counterpart, Tony Copsey, sent off for kicking in the midweek game at Treorchy. Jones joined the team for a weekend training camp in Cardiff last night.

Part of the three-day get- together will be dedicated to learning about the Romanians. To date, all that the manager, Robert Norster, and the coaches, Alan Davies and Gareth Jenkins, have had to work on are a few sketchy results.

'We've found it very difficult getting video evidence of recent Romanian matches and we've had our researchers trying to unearth as much detail on them as possible,' Norster said.

'We should know enough about them by the time we play the game and we will certainly be better prepared for this match than we were in 1983 when we travelled to Bucharest for the first time.'

What Norster and co will have noted is that the Romanians beat Italy, the other team contesting the ranking pool, 26-12 in Bucharest in May.

The Italians host the Romanians in Catania on 1 October before travelling to Cardiff for the final match on 12 October. Victory for Wales in Bucharest next weekend will put the Five Nations champions in with a great chance of attaining the Europe 1 status for next year's World Cup finals that all three teams crave.

That group offers the top European qualifiers the best possible chance of reaching the quarter-finals with an opening game against the Asian qualifiers, probably Japan, a midweek assignment against New Zealand and a final game against Ireland.

Defeat in Romania will leave the door open for their hosts to steal the top place, and leave the Welsh and the Italians battling it out for the right to join England, Western Samoa and Argentina or go into the same pool as Australia, South Africa and Canada.

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