Defeat leaves Namibia at bottom of group

Romania 37 Namibia 7
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The Independent Online

Romania scored five tries to one to post a 37-7 victory over Namibia at the World Cup in Launceston today and leave the Namibians in last place in Group A.

Romania scored five tries to one to post a 37-7 victory over Namibia at the World Cup in Launceston today and leave the Namibians in last place in Group A.

The Europeans raced to a 32-0 lead by half time and the Namibians, outplayed for most of the game, hit back after the break to outscore the Romanians in the second half.

It was the fourth time in five World Cups Romania had managed a single victory having also beaten Zimbabwe (1987), Fiji ('91) and the United States ('99) while the Namibians have now lost six championship matches in a row.

It was also a satisfying end for Romania's French coach, Bernard Charreyre. He has been told his contract will not be renewed and a replacement will be named next week.

"I'm the happiest captain tonight. I'm very pleased with the result," said Romanian captain Romeo Gontineac.

"We will celebrate in particular the first half, which we played very well, but also the second half when we showed some good rugby,"

Namibian captain Sean Furter said his team did well to come back after being hammered 142-0 by defending champion Australia on Saturday. But he wasn't totally pleased with the performance.

"I wouldn't say proud I would just say satisfied," he said. "They really wanted to win, those guys. We aimed for it but it didn't work so well for us. But some of the play was good."

The first meeting of the two teams was played out before a sellout 15,457 crowd at York Park's Australian Rules ground. The locals with birthdays on odd-numbered days had been urged by Tasmania Premier Jim Bacon to support Romania and evens were supporting Namibia.

"From the first day we arrived he we felt like it was home," Gontineac said. "We had presents and a warm welcome from the people of Tasmania."

"The support was just fantastic," Furter said. "To all the guys out there, Australia guys, Tasmanian guys, the Romanian guys as well, thank you very much."

With halfbacks Lucian Sirbu and Ionat Tofan running the game, the Romanians maintained a near non stop onslaught which kept those Tasmanian fans supporting the Namibians almost silent.

Augustin Petrichei went over in the corner in the fourth minute after a fine Romanian crossfield move and the referee ruled it a touchdown even though he appeared to lose the ball in a tackle by Namibian fullback Ronaldo Pedro. Tofan made the conversion

A high tackle on Tofan by Wolfie Duvenhage led to a close range penalty and the flyhalf got up after treatment to kick it in the 12th minute and stretch the lead to 10 points.

If it hadn't been for numerous handling errors, the Romanians would have had even more tryscoring chances. Instead Tofan made it 13-0 with another penalty in the 18th minute.

Schalk Van der Merwe, the all action Namibian back row known as the "Lion Tamer" because of his work with injured wild animals back home, made a brilliant try-saving challenge in the 26th minute.

Sirbu collected from a fast run by winger Gabriel Brezoianu and headed for the line. But Van der Merwe chased back and managed to get his arm under the ball as the scrumhalf tried to touchdown.

From the restart, however, the Romanians scored a simple second try.

When the Namibians were penalized for pulling down a maul, Sirbu took a tap penalty and ran five meters unchallenged for the try which Tofan converted.

Beaten 142-0 by the Australians on Saturday, the Namibians were on the end of another one-way beating and back row George Chiriac powered over from a short pass by Sirbu ad Tofan converted for 27-0 with just 31 minutes gone.

The Romanians scored their fourth try in the final minute of the first half when they moved the ball swiftly through six pairs of hands and the overlapping winger Ioan Teodorescu crossed in the corner. This time Tofan missed the conversion but his team went into half time leading 32-0.

The Namibians suffered a further blow when scrum half Neil Swanepoel was carried off the field with what looked a serious leg injury.

But they put together a strong spell of play which brought a try in the 56th minute.

They were awarded a penalty 35 meters out and opted to kick for a lineout close to the Romanian line. They won good ball and began a maul which ended with Eben Isaacs picking up the ball and charging over. Emile Wessels kicked the conversion and it was 32-7 with the "Namibian" Aussies now cheering.

Van der Merwe had them roaring again when he went on a bulldozing, 30-meter run only to be halted just short of the line.

Rudie van Vuuren, who missed the first three games with a nagging calf muscle injury, finally made his historic appearance to become the first player to take part in both a cricket and rugby World Cup.

The fly half ran on to loud applause in the 71st minute but his arrival was the prelude to a fifth Romanian try.

The Europeans took a tap penalty in front of the Namibian posts and the ball was moved wide to replacement winger Cristian Sauan who touched down on the tryline as he was tackled. Tofan missed the penalty but the finishing margin was 30 points.