Kings beat Romania & top IRB Nations Cup table

The South African Kings rose to the top of the IRB Nations Cup table by defeating hosts Romania 27-23 and maintaining their unbeaten start to the tournament in Bucharest on Wednesday.

The South Africans showed no inhibition in front of the Rugby World Cup-bound Oaks. The Romanians seemed to dominate the early exchanges and indeed it was their loose head Mihaita Lazar who crashed over for the first try of the match.

However, the Kings’ lively outside half Louis Strydom kept his side in contention with a couple of penalties, before a string of Romanian errors led to them squander a gilt-edged scoring chance for giant second rower Valentin Ursache and cough up the ball to the Kings, who found electric wing Siyanda Grey in space to outpace the Romanian defence and score his fourth try of the tournament.

In the second half the South African forwards shifted up a gear led by the Luke Watson, who is making a remarkable recovery from injury, and when the talented Strydom went over on the left for a 21-14 lead.

Supported by the capacity crowd, the Romanians kept their cool and attacked as both sides added points with the boot. The hosts’ reserve scrum half Valentin Calafateanu scored to bring the Romanians to within a score but with the clock ticking down, outstanding wing Madalin Lemnaru failed to ground the bouncing ball in the Kings’ in-goal area.

“Romania played remarkably well. They have a lot of very good players in their team and gave us a very hard match,” said Luke Watson after the game.

“Our boys showed a lot of guts to win this tough encounter and it is particularly rewarding to win tight matches like these against the home nation. It is really exciting to play and win against such a good side like Romania on their home turf.”

“We started well and played well for most of the game, but small details doomed our better efforts,” said Romania captain, Marius Tincu.

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