Sun, Sep 30, 2007 - Page 24 News List

New Zealand brush Romanians aside

TOULOUSE TROUNCINGIt took the All Blacks only 34 seconds to get on the scoreboard and Romaina's first serious attack didn't come until the half-hour mark

AFP , TOULOUSE, FRANCE

Romania's Romeo Gontineac tries to evade New Zealand's Sione Lauaki, right, and Keith Robinson during yesterday's World Cup match in Toulouse, France.

PHOTO: AFP

New Zealand brushed aside Romania 85-8 in their final Group C game at Toulouse yesterday, the minnows offering meager resistance to the superior power and pace of the All Blacks.

Joe Rokocoko led the 13-try rout with a hat-trick, a brace each coming from fellow winger Sitiveni Sivivatu and center Isaia Toeava.

Chris Masoe, Nick Evans, Aaron Mauger, Andrew Hore, Conrad Smith, and all-time All Black try scorer Doug Howlett also managed to get on the scoreboard. Luke McAlister hit four conversions and Nick Evans six.

The Romanians, whose gameplan relied heavily on their large pack, at least scored a well-worked consolation try of their own through hooker Marius Tincu, as well as a late penalty by Catalin Dascalu.

They were saved from complete humiliation thanks to a number of ball-handling errors from New Zealand as the team pursued its ambitious policy of trying to offload at all costs.

The All Blacks took just 34 seconds to get on the scoreboard, Fiji-born Sivivatu benefitting from a floated pass from Andrew Ellis to finish off a break by McAlister.

The impressive Ellis was again on hand with a searing line-break and clever inside pass to Masoe as the Romanian backline struggled to keep the menacing black tide at bay.

Rokocoko kept up his amazing try-scoring record when McAlister put him in at the corner, and Evans crossed minutes later with the Romanians in disarray after an Ellis grubber.

Sivivatu doubled his tally with the try of the game, Sione Lauaki and Jerry Collins linking well as the ball raced through eight pairs of hands before the winger crossed the line.

It was not until the half-hour that Romania -- with just one win to their credit, over Portugal (14-10) -- offered up any real attack, full-back Iulian Dumitras hauled down within an arm's length of the All Black line.

From the ensuing line-out, the solid Romanian pack expertly set up a maul, from which hooker Tincu was propelled over for a try that delighted the Toulouse crowd.

The All Blacks hit back with a try from Mauger, the recipient of a deft offload from Toeava, who himself waltzed through some soft tackling to open the scoring in the second-half.

Rokocoko notched up his second try of the game after Lauaki went off on a rampaging break down the right flank, and replacement hooker Hore also got his name on the scoresheet after some great work by Chris Jack.

Rokocoko then had captain Collins to thank for his hat-trick, the captain showing his ball handling skills to provide a drop-off for the winger to come in from the flank for his 43rd try in 47 Test matches.

Smith, Howlett, and Toeava all scored in the dying minutes against a flagging Romanian side, for whom dogged flanker Alexandru Manta and No. 8 Ovidiu Tonita shone.

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