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Scotland thrash Romania to set up Ireland decider

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Darcy Graham climbed from sixth to joint-second on Scotland’s all-time try-scorer list with four touchdowns in a resounding 84-0 victory over Romania in their 2023 Rugby World Cup match played at the Stade Pierre-Mauroy in Lille, France on Saturday.

This win also sets up a mouth-watering World Cup shootout with Ireland next weekend.

The Scots ran in six tries in each half to inflict another demoralising defeat on their opponents, who were similarly outclassed by both Ireland and South Africa in their first two matches in Pool ‘B’.

Graham, who started the evening on 20 international tries, wreaked the most damage on the eastern European minnows as his first-half hat-trick and another after the break took him ahead of both Duhan van der Merwe and Chris Paterson and up to 24.

The Scots were so confident of getting the result they required that they made 13 changes from the side that started against Tonga the previous Sunday, preserving most of their A-listers for the Ireland match in Paris which they must win with a bonus-point or by denying their opponents one in order to reach the quarter-finals.

There was no danger of the decision to field so many fringes men back-firing from the moment Hamish Watson got the Scots off and running with the first try of the match in the eighth minute.

The experienced Edinburgh flanker – who has lost the number seven jersey to the burgeoning Rory Darge this year – marked his return to the starting line-up by bounding over on the right after Cam Redpath offloaded into his path as he was thwarted on his own charge towards the line.

Ali Price – like Watson, another 2021 British and Irish Lions squad member who has become a peripheral player for the national team this year – got the second in the 17th minute after being played in by Graham.

It was Graham’s turn to get on the scoresheet just four minutes later when he touched down following a brilliant individual run, bringing him level with his Edinburgh teammate Van der Merwe.

(C.D.)

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