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Romania Rugby World Cup 2023 bid remains alive

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Romania Rugby World Cup: The Oaks will take part in the Final Qualification Competition for RWC 2023 in November. Romania’s tenable third place in the Rugby World Cup 2023 European qualifying table after a contented 38-12 win over the Netherlands in Amsterdam on Saturday. The bonus-point win saw the Oaks finish on 28 points crossways the two years of the qualification cycle, from 2021 to 2022, 16 points behind winners Georgia and one fewer than Spain, the region’s two involuntary qualifiers.

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Romania will now contest with three other teams in the Final Qualification Competition for the 20th and final ticket to Rugby World Cup 2023. A place in Pool C alongside Wales, Australia, Fiji and Europe 1 qualifier Georgia awaits the winner of that tournament.

Romania Rugby World Cup

Romania went into the game against the Netherlands as firm favorites having won all eight preceding meetings against the bottom team in the division. Tries from Gabriel Rupanu, Ionut Dumitru, Hickley Vaovasa, and Ovidiu Cojocaru ensured Romania had the bonus point in the bag just past the half-hour mark, with Ionel Melinte fruitful with all bar one of the changes for a 26-0 lead.

But the Dutch put in a forceful display in the latter stages of the first half at the National Rugby Centre, counting tries through Spike Salman and Christopher Raymond just before the intermission, turning around 26-12 up, Romania kept their line intact in the second half as well as adding a couple more tries for a 38-12 win.

It wasn’t pending the 71st minute

It wasn’t pending the 71st minute that the Dutch resistance was broken again, Nicolas Onutu crossing the line before Captain Mihai Macovei additional sixth five minutes later. After the game, Romania head coach Andy Robinson said: “We were 26-0 up and then let the Netherlands back into things. When we play well we are good, but we switch off at times and it is an example for us.

“Now we will build towards the repechage with some games in the straw hat and then it will come around in November – as a squad we need to be fitter, but we can grow from here and we will get better.”

The Netherlands has yet to win in nine outings since recurring to the second tier of European rugby for the first time in 19 years in 2021. But head coach Zane Gardiner is self-assured that they will continue to grow as a team with continued contact with higher-ranked teams. “We just need time at this level, we can contest just now in patches of games, but need to compete for 80 minutes at a time,” he said.

Georgia secure a fifth straight title

Meanwhile, Georgia motorized their way to a fifth consecutive Rugby Europe Championship title, beating fellow European Rugby World Cup 2023 finalists Spain 49-15 in Tbilisi.

The match was on a knife edge with half an hour to play and Georgia only leading 21-15, but the Lelos turned on the style to score four rehabilitated tries in the final quarter. To know more about Ireland Vs Romania Tickets click here.


Scrum-half Vasil Lobzhanidze got the scoring underway at the Dinamo Stadium in the third minute with the first drop goal of his 64-test vocation. The respective fly-halves, Tedo Abzhandadze and Manuel Ordas then dealt penalties before Spain, who went into the match as the Rugby Europe Championship 2022 leaders, counted the first try through hazardous winger Jordi Jorba.

RWC 2023

Fellow number 14, Akaki Tabutsadze soon hit back for Georgia with his 11th try in as many competitions and flanker Otar Giorgadze added additionally to make the half-time score 18-8 to the hosts. Spain needed to score first to get back in the argument and they did that nine minutes into the second half when hooker Santiago Ovejero rumbled over, Ordas adding the extras to make it a three-point game.

However, Spain failed to worry the scorers thereafter and Georgia stepped up a gear to finish as convincing winners. An Abzhandadze consequence made it 21-15 before Captain Merab Sharikadze raced under the posts to put further daylight between the teams. Tabutsadze and Giorgadze both got their next tries of the match soon after and it was left to hooker Giorgi Chkoidze to round off an excellent win.

“We played well when it mattered in this game and it means everything to win the trophy again. Spain is a good side, they played well, but we played better and now we start building up to the World Cup next year,” said Georgia head coach Levan Maisashvili.

Spain’s head coach Santiago Santos was phlegmatic in defeat. “We have to congratulate Georgia, they performed better and deserve to be champions,” he said.

“It is disappointing to lose this game, but the bigger picture is that we are going to the Rugby World Cup and we cannot wait to grow the sport in our country.”

Romania could face exclusion from Rugby World Cup 2023 due to an ineligible player

Spain had originally fit for next year’s Rugby World Cup through the European pathway, but after they were found to have fielded an unentitled player in two matches, they were docked 10 points. As a result, Romania is fit for the World Cup, while Portugal will play in a final qualification tournament, as Spain dropped from second to fourth place in the European requirement table. To know more about 
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 However, the Spanish book El Mundo believes Jason Tomane, a New Zealand-born Romania international, played for his adopted country in World Cup finalists without being eligible to do so.

Jason Tomane may have been ineligible to play for Romania.

Tomane made his debut for Romania in June 2021 and played in competitions against the Netherlands, Spain, Portugal, and Georgia in European World Cup qualifiers. According to an Instagram post made by Tomane’s wife, the Romanian international lived in Hungary for three months in 2019.

This would make Tomane unentitled to play for Romania, as it was during his three-year residency qualifying period, in which players must not spend more than 60 days outside of the country they are aiming to become qualified for each year.

As Tomane played in four Rugby World Cup finalist matches for Romania, the country could be docked 20 points, which would see Portugal qualify directly for next year’s competition in France, while Spain would progress to a final qualifying tournament.

Spain is currently appealing World Rugby’s decision.

Spain has docked points for a very alike reason, as South African-born Gavin van der Berg was deemed ineligible to play for Spain as he spent a lengthy period outside the country throughout his three-year residency qualifying period.

The Romanian Rugby Federation brought Van der Berg’s suitability to World Rugby’s attention after they had originally been unsuccessful to qualify directly for the 2023 Rugby World Cup. Spanish rugby officials are appealing to World Rugby over Van der Berg’s case, and have referenced New Zealand-born Ireland stars Bundee Aki and James Lowe in their appeal.

They are now likely to also bring Tomane’s situation to World Rugby’s attention, as the messy European World Cup qualification saga rumbles on.

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