Rugby World Cup 2011: England run Romania ragged
Mark Cueto and Chris Ashton both scored hat-tricks as England dominated Romania in Dunedin
England produced aÂ superb all-round displayÂ toÂ crush minnows Romania under the roof at Otago Stadium on Saturday.
The empahtic victoryÂ will go some way toÂ silencing the critics and skipper Lewis Moody hailed a much improved display. “We looked at our performances last week and we had a lot to improve on, and today we were much better,” he said.
“That’s what happens when we keep hold of the ball and do the basics right. Keeping them off our try line was very pleasing. We had a point to prove today but I think we did that.”
Man-of-the-match Mark Cueto’sÂ first half hat-trick – more tries than in theÂ winger’s 28 previousÂ internationals -Â and a brace from Chris Ashton had put England 34-3 upÂ at half time.
No10 Jonny Wilkinson led the back line, giving plenty of opportunities to hisÂ centresÂ and wingers toÂ attack the Romanian defence.
He opened the scoring with a penalty afterÂ only a minute andÂ showed a hugeÂ improvement from his woeful kicking display in the openingÂ Pool BÂ game against the Pumas.
But despite kicking four from six in the first 40 minutes he was replaced by Toby Flood a minute into the second half.
Northampton Saints wing Ashton completed his hat-trick after the break as a relentless England began to play with confidence and belief.
Tries from Ben Youngs, Ben Foden, Manu Tuilagi and Tom Croft rounded off a crushing defeat for Romania, who looked to avoid a repeat of their 134-0 loss a decade ago at the hands of the 2003 World Cup champions.
England manager Johnson will be pleased with his side’s much-improved display and far more clinicalÂ performance.Â Nine of the 10 tries came from his backs,Â although thereÂ will still be concerns over England’s lack ofÂ discipline after early penalties were conceded.
Romania’s only points came from a first-half penalty by fly-half Marin Dumbrava as the Eastern Europeans insisted on kicking for goal rather than testing the England defence and going for tries.
England, who face Scotland in seven days’ time, now lead the group and sit five points clear. A Scottish win over Argentina tomorrow would see both England and Scotland progress into the quarter-finals.
“These games can be awkward, but we kept our discipline pretty well. It was job done tonight, and now we go into a massive week,” said Johnson after the win.
The winner of Pool B isÂ likely to play France in the quarter-finals after they lost to New Zealand 37-17 at Eden Park in their Pool A match on Saturday.
England: Foden, Ashton, Tuilagi, Tindall, Cueto, Wilkinson, Youngs; Corbisiero, Thompson, Cole, Deacon, Palmer, Croft, Moody, Haskell.
Replacements: Mears (for Thompson, 50), Wilson (for Cole 41, Cole for Corbisiero, 58), Shaw (for Deacon, 58), Wood (for Moody, 60), Wigglesworth (for Youngs, 60), Flood (for Wilkinson, 41), Armitage (for Foden, 51).
Romania: Vlaicu, Ciuntu, Cazan, Dumitras, Apostol, Dumbrava, Sirbu; Nere, Zebega, Florea, Popirlan, Petre, Burcea, Ratiu, Tonita.
Replacements: Nicolae (for Vlaicu, 71), Gal (for Cazan, 42), Calafeteanu (for Sirbu, 43), Tincu (for Zebega,50), Ion (for Florea, 61), Macovei (for Petre, 52). Not Used: Ianus.
Referee: Romain Poite (France)