Romania are treating their Rugby World Cup Pool D game against Canada on Tuesday like a semi-final as they bid to secure automatic qualification for the 2019 tournament.
They lost 38-11 to France and 44-10 to Ireland, but could yet achieve that goal if they can beat Canada and follow it up with victory over Italy in their final group match.
“We set two goals. The first one, we’ve achieved, as we showed that we can play against the tier-one nations,” coach Lynn Howells told reporters on Sunday.
“The second goal is that we would have two wins and would go straight to Japan 2019. It gives us four years’ preparation, which would be huge for Romanian rugby.”
Howells described the game against Canada, who lost their first three group games, as a semi-final for his team.
“It’s that important,” he said. “The players have put in a lot of hard work and this is what they deserve.”
Romania have beaten Canada in their previous two meetings but will not be taking them lightly.
“It’s not going to be the same game this time. This is the World Cup. We are preparing for anything. The World Cup starts for us now,” Romania captain Mihai Macovei said.
“This is a very important game for us,” he said.
“Canada have a great system. They play with a lot of structure. When we played them twice in Bucharest they were very organised. Nothing complicated, they get the simple things right.”
Canada prop Djustice Sears-Duru emphasised the importance of the scrum, which has functioned well at the World Cup, particularly in the slender 23-18 defeat against Italy.
“I think our set-piece has got a lot better over the tournament,” he said. “We’ve got some good options and hopefully we can show them what we have and get some scores.
“I think we are now playing fast-paced rugby, the kind which could have won both games. I think we’ve got a good game plan against Romania.”
Romania: 1-Mihaita Lazar, 2-Otar Turashvili, 3-Paulica Ion, 4-Valentin Poparlan, 5-Johannes van Heerden, 6-Valentin Ursache, 7-Viorel Lucaci, 8-Mihai Macovei (captain); 9-Florin Surugiu,
10-Michael Wiringi, 11-Ionut Botezatu, 12-Florin Vlaicu, 13-Paula Kinikinilau, 14-Madalin Lemnaru, 15-Catalin Fercu
Replacements: 16-Andrei Radoi, 17-Andrei Ursache, 18- Alexandru Tarus, 19-Daniel Carpo, 20-Stelian Burcea, 21-Valentin Calafeteanu, 22-Adrian Apostol, 23-Csaba Gal
Team: 1-Hubert Buydens, 2-Ray Barkwill, 3-Doug Wooldridge, 4-Brett Beukeboom, 5-Jamie Cudmore (captain), 6-Jebb Sinclair, 7-John Moonlight, 8-Aaron Carpenter; 9-Gordon McRorie, 10-Nathan Hirayama, 11-DTH Van Der Merwe, 12-Nick Blevins, 13-Ciaran Hearn, 14-Jeff Hassler, 15-Harry Jones
Replacements: 16-Benoit Piffero, 17-Djustice Sears-Duru, 18-Jake Ilnicki, 19-Kyle Gilmour, 20-Nanyak Dala, 21-Phil Mack,
22-Conor Trainor, 23-James Pritchard