Shanklin leads routine rout of weak Romanians

Wales 66 Romania 7
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The Independent Online

Tom Shanklin wrote his name into the Welsh scoring records with four of the avalanche of 10 tries that buried a hopelessly outclassed but game Romania last night.

Tom Shanklin wrote his name into the Welsh scoring records with four of the avalanche of 10 tries that buried a hopelessly outclassed but game Romania last night.

Shanklin became the sixth Welsh player to join the elite band to score four tries in a match and make the man of the match accolade a formality - but coach Mike Ruddock knows the acid test for his team comes on Saturday with the arrival of former Wales coach Graham Henry's All Blacks.

Romania were never at the party, beaten all ends up at forward and run ragged behind with the flanker Dafydd Jones and scrum-half Gareth Cooper hammering the final nails in the Romanian coffin late on.

Wales, who ran the Tri-Nations champions South Africa close last Saturday in a seven-try thriller, had nine of the starting line-up beaten 38-36 by the Boks on duty again last night with Ruddock stressing that places for the match against the All Blacks next Saturday were still there for the claiming.

The burly Wales captain and full-back Gareth Thomas scared Romania in the opening minutes but it was Shanklin, the Cardiff Blues centre and the wing Rhys Williams who laid down early markers. Shanklin sprinted over after just five minutes for the first try and Williams cut the Romanian defence to shreds with a beautifully angled run for the next.

The fly-half Stephen Jones converted both before doing the damage with the ball in hand as Wales raced 21 points clear in as many minutes with Jones quickly into double figures. The prop Gethin Jenkins got in on the try-scoring act on behalf of the rampant Welsh pack as he muscled his way over before Shanklin strolled over for his second and Wales' fifth with the Romanians on the rack.

But some casual Welsh play presented the opening for Lucian Sirbu to get Romania on the scoreboard with his half-back partner Ionut Tofan adding the conversion and providing some ammunition for Ruddock's half-time talk.

The talented centre Gavin Henson followed up his two-try showing against the Boks with Wales' sixth against the hapless Romanians, and then turned provider for Shanklin's hat-trick try after 57 minutes.

Jones, after seven out of seven conversions to go with his try, was one of the raft of replacements that had the fourth official working overtime as Wales protected their key men ahead of the far sterner All Blacks challenge to come.

Shanklin celebrated not being among the departed multitude by cashing in with a Welsh record-equalling fourth try that had the 35,000-strong flag-waving crowd on their feet and Romania all but out on theirs.

The replacement No 10 Ceri Sweeney carried on Jones's impeccable conversion work but with Wales sailing past the half century of points it had never been an equal contest in any area.

Wales: G Thomas (Toulouse, capt); R Williams (Blues), T Shanklin (Blues), G Henson (Ospreys), H Luscombe (Dragons); Stephen Jones (Clermont-Auvergne), D Peel (Scarlets); G Jenkins (Blues), M Davies (Neath), A Jones (Ospreys), G Llewellyn (Narbonne), L Charteris (Dragons), Dafydd Jones (Scarlets), M Owen (Dragons), C Charvis (Newcastle). Replacements: Steve Jones (Dragons), Duncan Jones (Ospreys), J Thomas (Ospreys), M Williams (Blues), G Cooper (Dragons), C Sweeney (Dragons), S Parker (Ospreys)

Romania: V Marftei (Aurillac); V Ghioc (Dinamo Bucuresti), R Sauan (Rugby Rovigo), R Gonteineac (Aurillac), I Todorescu (U Cluj); I Tofan (Metro Racing), L Sirbu (Metro Racing); P Balan (Biarritz Olimpique), B Zebega (Steaua Bucuresti), M Socaciu (Rugby Rovigo), F Tatu (Steaua Bucuresti), C Petre (Tarbes), C Mersoiu (Perigueux), A Tudori (Perigueux), A Petrache (Beziers). Replacements: R Mavrodin (Tarbes), B Balan (Bordeaux Begles), V Ursacheo (Contor Zennerarad), G Oprisororo (Perpignan), I Andrei (Steaua Bucharest), F Dobreo (Dinamo Bucharest), I Dimofte (Contor Zennerarad).

Referee: K Deaker (New Zealand).