Scots win 84-0. Up next: Ireland
Scotland already knew it would come down to a final Pool B showdown against Ireland, with them needing to win big against their Celtic rivals. But they also wanted to add a significant points difference in the Pool. So 12 tries against Romania helps.
In the simplest terms possible, for Scotland to make the quarter-finals of the Rugby World Cup, they have to beat Ireland with at least an eight-point lead.
The Scots beat Romania 84-0 in Lille – just shy of their Rugby World Cup record win, which came against the Ivory Coast in 1995 when they won 89-0. They now have a +97 points difference.
Wing Darcy Graham is now joint-top of the Rugby World Cup top try-scorer chart after getting four here. Hamish Watson, Ali Price, Matt Fagerson, Chris Harris, Ollie Smith, Ben Healy, Rory Darge, and Johnny Matthews (on his Test debut) all scored. Romania could not contain Scotland’s surge in linebreaks.
Graham went for more than 210m with ball in hand in this one, and was named player of the match. After the game he told BBC Scotland: “I got through lots of work today. We spoke about being discipline, keeping hold of the ball, sticking to our game and things will fall into place. The boys did that well and I’m proud of them tonight.
“We just wanted to get this game out the way, get the five points and fire into Ireland. We’re going to go to Paris all guns blazing and put in our best performance. Time to rest up and kick on.”
Romania simply could not lay a glove on the Scots – who dropped a few balls on the line. As special as Graham was, coming off his wing to sniff out scores, he also threw a lineout on the Romania 5m, into heavy traffic and losing it, right at the death, when his pack could have easily waited for their chance to drive a lineout.
Yet while Ireland will not present the same feeble resistance as Romania, there were some big performances, not only from Graham, but Cameron Redpath in the centre and Hamish Watson at seven. Could they make it into the starting lineup?
After the match, Gregor Townsend said: “We will sit down tomorrow night and discuss selection. But this gives us really good momentum going into a training week ahead of our biggest game of the World Cup. It’s a credit to the 23 tonight who have trained and played well.”
The other question is: will this hefty hike in points difference give Scotland a significant boost in confidence ahead of facing Ireland? They will need every ounce of belief, in a match against the fired up, and hyper-physical, Irish.