Rugby World Cup 1999
Romania produce fight-back to down USA
October 9, 1999
Romania celebrate after clinching a narrow victory over Romania
© Getty Images
undefined Romania produced an inspired second half performance to beat the United States for the first time in their history, running out 27-25 winners in a tense battle between the two rank outsiders in Group E on Saturday.
The Americans had the chance to salvage a draw two minutes from time when full-back Kurt Shuman scored in the left corner, but scrum-half Kevin Dalzell pushed his conversion agonisingly wide.
Despite their late rally, the Americans were left looking for their first World Cup win for 12 years but will now almost certainly have to wait until the 2003 finals to end their winless streak as they face mighty Australia in their final group match.
The Eagles, showing four changes to the side beaten 53-8 by Ireland in their opening match, led 10-5 at half-time following a try from their inspirational captain Dan Lyle who plays for English giants Bath. But after Lyle limped off with an injury minutes later the Americans lost their way in the second half despite scoring a second try by Brian Hightower 45 seconds after the break.
The Romanians, hopelessly ill-disciplined in the first period, were a different side after the turnaround. Left-wing Gheorghe Solomie scored his second try of the match before forwards took control. From a lineout the Romanians drove forward and it Tudor Constantin was credited with the try although the Romanian officials later claimed Adrian Petrache had scored. Petrache was again in the play when he went over to sweep the the east Europeans into a 10-point lead.
The win put Romania top of Pool E, at least for 24 hours. Ireland face Australia at Lansdowne Road tomorrow (Sunday October 10).
Scorers: USA: Tries: Lyle, Hightower, Schuman; Cons: Dalzell (2); Pens: Dalzell (2) Romania: Tries: Solomie (2), Constantin, Petrache; Cons: Mitu (2); Pens: Mitu