Henson inspires Wales to end miserable run
Wales 54 Romania 8
Thursday 28 August 2003
Wales finally ended their 11-game losing streak with victory over a poor Romanian side here in Wrexham last night. Gavin Henson enjoyed a 100 per cent record with the boot, kicking 24 points as an experimental side ran in six tries to lift some of the gloom in the Principality.
Whether the national coach Steve Hansen will learn anything from the game is doubtful because of the standard of the opposition, but a number of players - Henson among them - will certainly have enhanced their World Cup claims.
Hansen had selected very much a young, makeshift side for the match, including four new caps - wing Nathan Brew, scrum-half Michael Phillips, prop Paul James and lock Brent Cockbain.
In a frenetic opening it was Shane Williams who gave his side the perfect start with two minutes on the clock. A Romanian scrum was disrupted inside their own 22 and after Wales had won quick turnover ball Williams was put away to touch down in the corner.
Romania responded almost immediately with a try of their own, prop Petru Balan touching down, but it was the hosts who finished the half stronger thanks to the boot of Henson and a try through Leeds No 8 Alix Popham.
Brew added to the visitors' misery after the break, bursting through from an inside pass from Nicky Robinson and it came as little surprise when Gavin Thomas was next over the line as the Romanians lost all their shape. In the dying moments Williams danced over for his second of the night.
Wales: Tries S Williams 2, Phillips, Popham, Brew, G Thomas. Conversions Henson 6; Penalties Henson 4. Romania: Try Balan; Penalty Dumbrava.
WALES: Henson (Neath-Swansea); Brew (Newport Gwent), Watkins (Llanelli), Marinos (Newport Gwent), S Williams (Neath-Swansea); Robinson (Cardiff), Phillips (Llanelli); James (Neath-Swansea), Davies (Celtic Warriors, capt), Evans (Cardiff), Gough (Newport Gwent), Cockbain (Celtic Warriors), J Thomas, G Thomas (both Neath-Swansea), Popham (Leeds). Replacements: Young (Newport Gwent), Anthony (Newport Gwent), Jones (Celtic Warriors), Bater (Neath-Swansea), Wyatt (Celtic Warriors), Bryant (Celtic Warriors), A Williams (Neath-Swansea).
ROMANIA: Dumbrava; Sauan, Maftei, Gontineac (capt), Brezoianu; Tofan, Sirbu; Balan, Tincu, Socaciu, Socol, Cristian, Chiriac, Tonita, Mersoiu. Replacements: Tudosa, Toderasc, Popescu, Petrichei, Tudori, Andrei, Teodorescu.
Referee: A Turner (South Africa).
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