Rugby World Cup: Robinson relief after Scotland beat Romania

Scotland's Max Evans and Romania's Florin Surugiu  during the IRB Rugby World Cup match at Rugby Park, Invercargill. PIC: PA
Scotland's Max Evans and Romania's Florin Surugiu during the IRB Rugby World Cup match at Rugby Park, Invercargill. PIC: PA
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Scotland head coach Andy Robinson expressed relief after the 34-24 World Cup opening win over Romania in Invercargill and vowed his side will improve in the next four days.

Robinson refused to dwell on the unconvincing performance, which delivered a fourth successive win ahead of the second Pool B clash with Georgia at Rugby Park Stadium on Wednesday.

Simon Danielli scored two tries in the final five minutes as Scotland responded from going 24-21 down with 12 minutes remaining.

Asked his thoughts when Romania took the lead, Robinson said he was “looking forward to seeing how we responded” before using an analogy of a Scottish sporting hero who has had to grind out victory on numerous occasions.

Robinson said: “I saw this as very much like Andy Murray playing his tennis matches, when he plays five sets.

“You get put under that pressure in the second round, third round sometimes and it’s how you come through it and then the focus is onto the next game.

“That’s the key element for us - we mustn’t play Romania when we play Georgia, we’ve got to play a new side.

“There are always challenges that are put up in front of us and it’s how you deal with those challenges.

“In the cold light of day we’ve got five points and we’re looking forward to going and playing Georgia.”

Tries from Mike Blair and Joe Ansbro helped Scotland to a 15-3 lead after 21 minutes, but Romania’s forward pack caused Robinson’s men no end of trouble.

Romania sensed an upset - and a first win over Scotland in 20 years - with prop Mihaita Lazar touching down after 40 minutes following a rolling maul which was just reward for his team’s forward effort.

And The Oaks went in front for the first time in the game after 68 minutes when number eight Daniel Carpo broke off a scrum to score.

Chris Paterson levelled the scores with a 70th-minute penalty, taking his tally to 14 points before victory - and a bonus point - was secured when Danielli touched down after 75 and 78 minutes.

“We knew what was coming and credit to Romania for the way they played,” added Robinson.

“But what a fantastic last 10 minutes and you’ve got to give the Scottish players real credit for the way they were able to put that together.

“The game’s for 80 minutes.”

Robinson was happy with the opening period and the final flourish, but described the mid-section of the match as “very disappointing”.

However, he insisted the issues - including support play, particularly around the breakdown - would be resolved by Wednesday.

They are likely to need to improve to keep their record of reaching at least the quarter-finals in each of their previous six tournament appearances intact.

Georgia - not to mention Pool B rivals Argentina and England - will be relishing taking on Scotland’s pack, which was arguably at full strength.

Ross Ford, winning his 50th cap at hooker, was joined by captain Alastair Kellock in Scotland’s pack.

The skipper lamented his side’s failure to once again be “ruthless” as they were forced to dig deep to overcome the valiant effort of Romania.

Kellock said: “We had the ability after the first 15 minutes to really push on and keep going.

“The errors that we made and the mistakes that let Romania get into that lead were basic, simple things - a clear out at a ruck, urgency, accuracy at the breakdown. Things we can fix and will fix.”

When Scotland went behind, Kellock was only focused on regaining the lead.

“We were very much about the next job,” he said.

“Behind the posts when they went up we talked about that being a massive moment in our World Cup already - the way we reacted to it would be defining and we did well.

“I’m gutted we put ourselves in that position, but I’m delighted we managed to drag ourselves out of it.”

Romania head coach Romeo Gontineac believed his side could have secured a historic success, but for the closing stages.

He said: “I’m very proud about being Romanian today, being coach.

“We believed we could win today. It was just eight minutes from a very good win in the World Cup.”

Wharfedale tryscorer, Rhys Lovegrove. PIC: Wharfedale RUFC

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