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Ireland will face Romania at Wembley Stadium in the Rugby World Cup

While Joe Schmidt’s men were winning the Six Nations, rugby’s 17th best side were losing to Georgia in Tbilisi.

Captains of Romania and Georgia pose with the Webb Ellis trophy.
Captains of Romania and Georgia pose with the Webb Ellis trophy.

IRISH RUGBY SUPPORTERS’ thoughts were miles away from Tbilisi at the weekend but a significant match took place in the context of our World Cup hopes.

Joe Schmidt’s men will face Romania at next year’s tournament after they were defeated 22-9 by Georgia in a World Cup qualifier. The match took place three hours before Ireland clinched the 2014 Six Nations title in Paris. The result means Ireland will now face the Romanians [Europe 2] while Georgia get the chance to play New Zealand by securing their position as Europe 1.

A try from tight-head prop David Zirakashvili of Clermont Auvergne and 17 kicked points from fullback Merab Kvirikashvili delivered victory for Georgia. Romania, under pressure at the scrum and breakdown all afternoon, saw three men sent to the sin bin.

Romania have three players based in France’s Top 14 while prop Horatiu Pungea is with Scarlets. coach Lynn Howells told the IRB, “Georgia were the better team, they deserved their win and as the Romanian coach I am a little disappointed with how my team played.

“The whole object of the European Nations Cup for us was to qualify for the World Cup and we achieved that so I am happy. Our group for RWC is probably not much tougher than Georgia’s so we still have the chance to do well in England next year.”

Gordon D'Arcy of Ireland is stopped by the Romania defence 26/11/2005 Gordon D'Arcy is stopped in his tracks against Romania in 2005. Source: ©INPHO

Ireland’s weekend victory over France has moved them up to fifth in the world rankings. The other teams in pool D are France [seventh], Italy [14th], Canada [15th] and the Romanians [17th].

Ireland have played Romania on eight occasions and have won each time. They were pushed close by Georgia, however, at the 2007 World Cup. Eddie O’Sullivan’s side survived late Georgian pressure on their tryline, holding out for a 14-10 win.

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About the author:

Patrick McCarry

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