Lille (France) (AFP) – Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend said Saturday’s 84-0 win over Romania gives his side “good momentum” before next week’s Rugby World Cup showdown with Ireland.
Scotland sit third in Pool B after the bonus-point victory and head to Paris for a crucial match against the world’s top-ranked team next Saturday.
They will need victory at the Stade de France against a team that has beaten reigning champions South Africa in this tournament to at least finish on the same number of points as Ireland.
Former Scotland fly-half Townsend made 13 changes to his team and winger Darcy Graham scored four of the Scots’ 12 tries.
“We’ll sit down tomorrow and discuss selection, but this gives us really good momentum ahead of our biggest game of the World Cup,” Townsend said.
“It’s a real credit to the 23 tonight and sets up whoever plays against Ireland with a lot of positivity,” he added.
Graham’s contributions move him to within four of Stuart Hogg’s record of 27 tries for Scotland.
“He’s someone that will create opportunities for scoring tries. A lot of that is his willingness to get on the ball,” Townsend said.
“He’s a great finisher, his good footwork for his fourth try was incredible.
“The last two games Darcy’s really gone for it. He’s now flying, and that’s brilliant to see,” he added.
Flanker Hamish Watson was one of the players called into the side, having lost his starting position to Rory Darge despite captaining the side during last year’s tour to Argentina.
“I thought he was very good. He started carrying well,” Townsend dais.
“He’s trained really well all week. Of course he’s stuck up a hand for next week.
“Having seen the game tonight I’m sure we’ll look for more details but I thought he played well,” he added.
Irish-born fly-half Ben Healy stood in for influential Finn Russell, kicking 12 conversions for a 100% success rate from the tee.
“It’s a tricky game when you have to the basic first, he spoke a lot about that in the group,” Townsend said.
“He grew into the game as a runner too. The goalkicking was an added bonus.”
Romania coach Eugen Apjok blamed the heavy defeat on three players — hooker Robert Irimescu, flanker Florian Rosu and full-back Marius Simionescu — being sent to the sin bin just before half-time.
“We lost the balance of the game we when were shown yellow cards,” said former international fly-half Apjok.
“It made a difference but we expected more from our players.”