Rugby World Cup 2003
Australian road train rolls over Romania
Brian Lowe reports from Brisbane
October 18, 2003
Mat Rogers breaks clear to score one of his hat-trick of tries
© Getty Images
Did you get the license number of that truck? That must be the question going through the minds of Romania's players after their thumping at the hands of Australia in Brisbane. Australia racked up its highest ever Test score by demolishing the Oaks 90-8 in their Pool A matchup.
The relentless Wallabies raced in for a record 13 tries against just one by the Romanians in this lop-sided affair at Suncorp Stadium. While the Romanians were willing, and never threw in the towel, the reality is that they were outclassed by a very professional Australian team.
The Wallabies led 38-8 at the break behind five tries, although coach Eddie Jones wouldn't have been impressed with his team's handling errors, sloppy passing and poor execution in the first forty minutes. However, the Aussies got their act together in the second period to notch another eight touchdowns to sound a warning to all other Cup contenders.
Fullback Mat Rogers scored a hat-trick of tries, while Matthew Burke and Stephen Larkham each scored a brace. Australia's other try-scorers were Joe Roff, Matt Giteau, Stirling Mortlock, Elton Flatley, George Smith and Lote Tuqiri, all of whom crossed for one each.
A crowd of slightly less than 49,000 saw an Australian side turn on what was, at times, a scintillating display of running rugby. The Wallabies were prepared to run it from anywhere, and for the most part if paid dividends.
Another record setter on the day was flyhalf Elton Flatley who had a personal haul of 30 points from eleven conversions, a penalty goal and the game's first try. Australia took the ball from the opening kickoff and following a good go-forward by hooker Brendan Cannon, the ball went to Flatley who shed a tackle and dotted down under the posts just 18 seconds into proceedings.
That pretty much set the tone for the rest of the game with the Australians taking the ball up and running hard all afternoon.
The Romanians pleased the crowd with their solitary try in the 20th minute. Their forwards had been testing the Wallabies from close in and they were rewarded when prop Petrisor Toderasc, a former shot putter, bulled his way in to the right of the posts.
The Oaks' only other points came from the boot of flyhalf Ionut Tofan who landed an early penalty goal. Australian flankers Phil Waugh and George Smith were all over the park, in both attack and defense, while eightman David Lyons was solid, particularly in the open. It was the backs though who starred on the day claiming all thirteen tries, although Tuqiri came on as a late replacement for Waugh and grabbed his touchdown as a flanker.
In the end, coach Jones ought to be pleased with the Australian road train rolling over their opposition.
Crowd: 48,778 at Suncorp Stadium