Far better Scotland sides than the Caledonian class of 2007 have been snagged by the national team from the land that was home to Vlad Dracula, he of the impaling tendency. The Scottish Grand Slammers of 1984 and World Cup semi-finalists of 1991 both fell victim to Romanian XVs in Bucharest. Thankfully for Scotland's present World Cup hopefuls, there was not a hint of such horror in Edinburgh last night. Not for them, at any rate.
It was Frank Hadden's men who did the impaling, drawing blood with a try after 75 seconds, courtesy of Chris Paterson. In all, they ran six tries through the Romanians, all of them converted by Paterson.
There was a hat-trick for Allister Hogg and a brace for Rory Lamont as Scotland made the most of home advantage in the first of their group matches at Murrayfield. Following the patchy performance in their Pool C opener against Portugal in St-Etienne, a 56-10 victory, it was a highly-encouraging improvement by the Scots. "I asked the boys to crank it up a notch and they did that," coach Hadden reflected.
Whether Hadden's side can crank themselves up enough to give the All Blacks a contest remains to be seen on Sunday. At least Murrayfield will be full for the occasion, having been more than half-empty last night, with just 31,222 of its 67,500 seats occupied. Still, those who were in attendance witnessed a job well done – right from the off. With less than two minutes on the clock, the white-shirted Scots had seven points on the board, all of them courtesy of Paterson. Though the back-of-all-trades, starting on the left wing last night, did owe a debt of gratitude to Dan Parks, his rival for the outside-half berth, for the garryowen that paved the way for his 75-second strike.
Paterson also had to thank a kindly bounce of the ball for eluding two defenders and allowing him to apply a scoring touch to his own deft chip-kick.
Paterson added the extras with his trusty right boot and did the same 15 minutes later when Hogg dropped over the line with ball-in-hand after a catch and drive on the right. It was a triumph for the permanently back-pedalling Romanians that they managed to delay the next breach of their line until the 37th minute, Rory Lamont diving over on the left after a couple of quick feeds by Parks and a bulldozing charge by Rob Dewey. Paterson again converted, leaving the Scots with a 21-0 cushion at the interval.
Scotland had the bonus point in the bag six minutes into the second half, Simon Taylor charging down an attempted clearance kick by Valentin Calafeteanu, Romania's replacement scrum-half, and Mike Blair breaking on the short side to feed Hogg for his second score, in the left corner. Six minutes later Hogg was back in the same spot, claiming his hat-trick and try No 5 for the Scots, courtesy of a Simon Webster pass. It was one-way traffic all the way to the end.
With seven minutes remaining Scott Lawson popped a pass up to Rory Lamont and the in-form full-back raced 40 metres up the right before taking a left turn to touch down under the posts – his fourth try in two World Cup matches. Paterson converted, making it six out of six for him with the boot.
On the night that Murrayfield's alcohol ban came to an end after 25 barren years, there was much for the natives to celebrate – even for their teetotal left-wing cum place-kicker.
Scotland: Tries Paterson, Hogg 3, Lamont 2; Conversions Paterson 6.
Scotland: R Lamont (Sale); S Lamont (Northampton), S Webster (Edinburgh), R Dewey (Ulster), C Paterson (Gloucester); D Parks (Glasgow), M Blair (Edinburgh); G Kerr (Edinburgh), R Ford (Glasgow), E Murray (Northampton), N Hines (Perpignan), J Hamilton (Leicester), J White (Sale, capt), A Hogg (Edinburgh), S Taylor (Stade Français). Replacements: C Smith (Edinburgh) for G Kerr, 52; S Macleod (Llanelli) for N Hines, 52; C Cusiter (Perpignan) for M Blair, 59; H Southwell (Edinburgh) for R Dewey, 59; S Lawson (Sale) for R Ford, 59; K Brown (Glasgow) for A Hogg, 65; N Walker (Ospreys) for D Parks, 68; Kerr for E Murray 68.
Romania: I Dumitras; C Fercu, C Gal, R Gontineac, G Brezoianu; I Dimofte, L Sirbu; P Toderasc, M Tincu, B Balan, S Socol (capt),C Petre, F Corodeanu, A Manta, O Tonita. Replacements: R Mavrodin for M Tincu, 42; V Calafeteanu for L Sirbu, 45; I Tofan for I Dimofte 45, A Tudori for A Manta, 53; C Ratiu for F Corodeanu, 61; S Florea for B Balan, 69; F Vlaicu for R Gontineac, 74.
Referee: N Owens (Wales).Reuse content