June 9 1991

New Zealand XV too strong for brave Romanians.

The New Zealand XV went out to a big second half lead, then conceded four quick tries as the Romanians got their mauling game going. It was too little, too late but it demonstrated that the Romanians had something to offer world rugby. 

Match programme.

at Auckland, June 9

By Bob Howitt.

It’s not easy to salvage much out of an international match when you’re trailing 10- 60.

But the big-hearted Romanians managed it, in spectacular style, at Eden Park on Sunday.

Four tries in seven minutes left John Hart’s men gasping and restored confidence to the Romanians for their World Cup campaign in October.

Coach Petre lanusievici admitted afterwards his team had probably made a huge mistake in trying to take the New Zealanders on at their own running game.

“The game the New Zealanders played today is the game I want Romania to play – fast, expansive, exciting. Our natural game has been a tight unadventurous one.

But we discovered it was too early to take New Zealand on at its own running game after just one month of learning in your country. So we resorted to the tactics we know.”

lanusievici said he is determined to introduce the New Zealand style to Romania.

“The videos we are taking back of your training methods and your play – which is the best in the world – will hopefully revolutionise our own game. Next time you see us I hope you will recognise the difference.”

The Romanians will meet France 10 days after returning home and will then start preparing for the World Cup, with the same squad that came to New Zealand.

“There is no depth in Romaniá,” said lanusievici. “The players we brought here are our best.”

The New Zealand XV exposed serious defensive weaknesses in the Romanian’s play as it ran in 10 tries.

But Wayne Shelford and his emerging stars never overcame the tourists in mauling, linouts or scrums.

They are incredibly strong across the chest” declared Shelford afterwards. “It is extremely hard to
get the ball off them.”

With the ball the New Zealanders did prise away from the Romanians they ran riot at times, piling on 34
points in 28 minutes after halftime before coming to a dead stop.

The game propelled two individuals into contention for the World Cup – fullback Eion Crossan, who finished with a whopping 32
points which included three tries and openside flanker Mark Carter.

Crossan has put massive pressure on Shayne Philpott, and to a lesser extent Kieran Crowley, with Sunday’s performance which followed a series of top-notch efforts for Bay of Plenty.

Carter was absolutely magnificent, particularly in the first spell, when he consistently pierced the Romania defence with his clever running and cut down opponents with telling tackles.

There were others who showed they’re just about primed for full international status, notably loosehead prop Mark Allen, hooker
Graham Dowd. halfback Jason Hewett- who ran 50 metres from a scrum for an astonishing try – and winger Timo Tagaloa.

Lock Robin Brooke had a big game, too, and Andrew McCormick looked sharp and decisive at second- five, if prone to kick away valuable possession.

Skipper Shelford had an excellent game, maintaining a high workrate and ranging wide to link with his threequarters.

There was no bigger cheer than that which acknowledged his try.

While New Zealand’s tries mostly came from slick passing, good support play and the skill of the backs, the Romanians made capital through rolling mauls and extensive use of the blindside.

When they got a roll on in the final dozen minutes, they were unstoppable.

Skipper Haralambie Dumitras played his heart out and was rewarded with one of the super tries that came in the final surge.

Opeside flanker Ioan Doja became a commanding individual in the final quarter while Sandu
Ciorascu, the lock, was outstanding in the lineouts and driving play until forced to retire injured.

Centre Nicolae Fulina was one Romanian who didn’t shirk his tackles while the powerhouse frot row exerted enormous pressure on the New Zealanders.

It was a fascinating contest between two totally different styles.

In the end there were 16 tries scored and that, as John Hart declared, has got to be good for rugby.


New Zealand XV 60. E Crossan (3), E Clarke, T Tagaloa, A McCormick, G Coffey, J Hewett, W Shelford, M Carter tries. E Crossan 7 conversions, 2 pen.

Romania 10. M Dumitru, N Racean, G Leonte, H Dumitras, C Cojocariu, S Ciorascu tries. S Tofan (2) and G Ignat conversions.

Referee: K H Lawrence (Bay of Plenty).


Romania: Dumitru, Racean, Fulina, Sasu (replaced by Brici), Lungu, Ignat, Coman, Dumitras, Doja, Sugar, Cojocariu, Ciorascu (replaced by Constantin, Leonte, Ion, Dumitrescu.

New Zealand XV: Crossan, Clarke, McCahill, Tagaloa, McCormick, Coffey, Hewett, Shelford, Carter, Gordon, Mayhew, R Brooke, Brown, Dowd, Allen.

From 1991 “Rugby News” No. 12 p. 4.