Rugby World Cup 1999
Wallabies ease past Romania
October 3, 1999
Joe Roff breaks through the Romania defence to score
© Getty Images
The fancied Wallabies ran in nine tries, three to rampaging No.8 Toutai Kefu, as they swamped a game Romania side at a wet and windy Ravenhill in Belfast. It may have taken the Australians a while to warm-up, but once they got into their stride they scored at will. The introduction of Joe Roff at the interval was the motivating force as he scorched in for two quick tries in the space of 10 minutes.
But like all the major forces in the competition, there was a certain rustiness about the 1991 winner's play. In the first half there was only fleeting glimpses of the real class distinction between the two sides. It was Tim Horan who opened up the scoring with only 100 seconds gone when he crossed the line unchallenged after storming onto a Rod Kafer pass.
Big number 8 Toutai Kefu quickly built on that try four minutes later when he crashed over after a clever reverse pass from George Gregan. But Romania were not for lying down and taking it all on the chin. They reciprocated with some stirling play with their little scrum-half Petre Mitu proving a hot handful. It was Mitu who opened up his side's account with a penalty in the 12th minute.
A slippery ball and turnovers kept the Australians at bay until Kefu again was on the scoresheet with a pushover try. Jason Little picked up number four right on half-time pouncing on a loose ball after Christian Suaun fumbled a Horan cross-field kick.
The Wallabies going to the break with a 24-3 advantage. Australia were again on the board straight after half-time. Roff stormed over after only two minutes from the re-start and again in the 50th minute. Always making it difficult for Australia in the scrums and line-outs, Romania were not lying down and made some big hits to stop Australians in full flight.
A double burst of scoring from replacement hooker Jeremy Paul and full-back Matthew Burke, the latter landing his fifth conversion, pushed Australia out to the half-century mark. Romania were far from finished as Mitu landed two successive penalties in the final ten minutes before Kefu again crossed for his hat-trick in the 80th minute. John Eales, who gingerly entered back into the Test arena after injury, ended the scoring with the conversion.