By qualifying for Rugby World Cup 2015, Romania’s proud ever-present record at the tournament is maintained. RWC 2015 Spotlight – Romania

The Oaks have been nothing if not consistent in their performances throughout the history of the competition, a place in the knock-out stages proving beyond them ever since they were first invited to the inaugural event back in 1987. On only two occasions, though, have Romania finished bottom of their pool – at RWC 1995 and RWC 2011, when they failed to win a single match. Victories by a one-point and two-point margin on a 1982 tour of Zimbabwe suggested Romania’s first-ever Rugby World Cup fixture against Africa’s sole representative at Eden Park would be a close run thing, and so it proved. Zimbabwe led 11-3 at half-time and 20-9 well into the second half until Romania, inspired by scrum half and captain Mircea Paraschiv, turned the match on its head with three late tries to win 21-20.

Romania’s experienced squad had prepared for RWC 1987 at a commando-style training camp in the mountains, and an uphill task awaited them in their next fixture. After holding the much-fancied French to 12-12 at half-time, the Oaks succumbed to a second-half onslaught and were beaten 55-12. A measure of pride was restored, though, in the next match against Scotland: a 55-28 defeat in Dunedin. RWC 1991 presented Romania arguably with their best chance – then and since, to make the quarter-finals. While France were expected to stroll through a relatively weak-looking pool – and did – Romania, Canada and a Fijian side in decline all looked to have equal claims on the runner-up spot. After losing 30-3 to France, Romania faced Canada in Toulouse knowing that a win would put them in pole position to qualify for the knockout stages. Following a tight first half the match came to life after the break, each side scoring two tries apiece.

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