Romania look to finish ENC on a high

(IRB.COM) Friday 26 March 2010
 
 Romania look to finish ENC on a high
Romania celebrate their vital win over Portugal - Photo: Antonio Lamas

Romania may have already guaranteed third place in the European Nations Cup standings to keep alive their Rugby World Cup 2011 dreams, but they will still be aiming to finish on a high by beating Spain in Bucharest on Saturday.

The pressure will be significantly less than seven days ago when Romania faced a must-win match with Portugal in Lisbon, knowing that defeat would end their ever-present record on the Rugby World Cup stage.

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Romania did emerge the 20-9 victors to ensure third place - even if they lose to Spain this weekend - and set up a home and away play-off against Lithuania or Ukraine for the right to enter the cross-continental play-off later this year.

The match with Spain at the stadionul National Arcul de Triumf is the final fixture in the top tier, having been postponed at the beginning of February because of snow and freezing conditions in the Romanian capital.

Romania are the highest ranked of the two rivals in 18th, some seven places and 9.35 rating points above their visitors to Bucharest. This means that victory - regardless of the margin - will not have any effect on the IRB World Rankings.

A draw will not see Romania slip from 18th - a place they gained on the back of beating Portugal and Russia losing heavily to Georgia - but Spain would jump two places to 23rd at the expense of Chile and Korea.

Spain will be hoping to gain another place by beating Romania, something they have not done since triumphing 6-0 in Madrid on 4 April 1992 - a run that extends to 12 matches with the Oaks' most recent win having been 19-10 last year.

Ged Glynn's side will therefore be hoping it is a case of 13th time unlucky for Romania to end that losing run and finish the campaign with back-to-back wins, having beaten Germany 21-17 last weekend.

If Spain do taste victory then they will also climb above Namibia into 22nd - one below their highest ever position since the rankings began in October 2003 - with Romania sliding one to swap places with Russia.

The IRB World Rankings update every Monday at 12:00 UK time.