Rugby World Cup 2015: France v Romania

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RUGBY WORLD CUP 2015

Pool D

France v Romania

Thursday 24 September, 5am

Midway through the half on Saturday evening it looked as if Italy might stage a comeback and make it three extremely unlikely winners on the day however the Italians’ ill-discipline cost them and France eased through to a 32-10 victory. The final score flattered the French but now they’ll target a fourth-successive win against European opposition after they beat Scotland and England in their final two warmup games.

For the third successive World Cup France have been placed in the same pool as two minnows. In 2007 they thrashed Namibia and Georgia by 77 and 57 points respectively but last time round they ‘only’ defeated Japan by 26 and Canada by 27. Interestingly, it was their defence rather than their attack that led to them not beating the spread in 2011 as they shipped a total of 40 points against the worst two teams in the pool.

Romania are a common feature at World Cups. They’ve played in every edition of the tournament since the inaugural 1987 competition yet they’re yet to get out of their group. Interestingly, they’ve won exactly one game in five of the previous seven World Cups. Their most likely chance of a sixth World Cup win is when they face Canada. Romania are currently ranked 16th in the world, just one place above Canada. Romania have lost all eight World Cup games against Six Nations or Rugby Championship sides since 2003 and they’ve trailed at HT in every one. Their average loss in those eight games is right on the current handicap line as they’ve succumbed by a mean of 45 points.

With just three full days rest between the fixtures we can expect France to rotate their squad ahead of the tougher game against Ireland on October 15th. They’ll be without Yoann Huget In both that, and this, game as the winger has been ruled out of the tournament after rupturing his right knee ligaments on Saturday. Under coach Marc Lievremont, Huget has been a key member of the squad and he’ll be sorely missed.

Given what we’ve seen from the lesser sides so far this World Cup, France’s short rest between games and Huget’s injury we’re inclined to back Romania with the points here.

 

Key Stats

France have won all eight of their World Cup group stage games against Northern hemisphere teams since 2003.

Romania have won six of their last nine matches.

Romania have won exactly one group game in five of the seven previous World Cups.

Romania have lost all eight World Cup games against Six Nations or Rugby Championship sides since 2003.

 

Recommendation: Romania +43.5 points 1.73