Scotland to send out World Cup statement in opener with Romania
Scotland’s opening match with Romania should, in theory, be a relatively easy task for Andy Robinson’s side.
Scotland are 1/15 to beat Romania and the main handicap line sees Scotland available at 1/1 despite giving Romania a 34 point start.
While the bookmakers make Scotland the overwhelming favourites, Andy Robinson has increased the pressure on his players by naming his strongest side to face Romania.
Anything other than a big victory will be deemed a failure and should Scotland, who have managed just 16 tries in their last 20 games, fall short of posting a big score punters will flock to Argentina and England to qualify.
Scotland and Romania have met 12 times before and in all of the last six matches Scotland have won but at least 20 points and scored five tries.
For a team that has struggled to break the tryline, a host of tries would increase punters’ confidence in Scotland ahead of what looks certain to be a group decider with Argentina for the second qualification spot.
In the six matches since 1995, Scotland’s winning margins over Romania have been 33, 41, 27, 20, 42 and 42.
This current Romania side is tough to break down – they have conceded over 30 points in just two of their last 40 matches although they did concede 37 against an Argentina A side in June.
Taking the 1/1 for Romania to win with a 34 point start looks the best bet but Scotland should still be expected to wrap up at least a 20 point win.
Scotland are 11/4 to win by 21-30 points and 7/1 to win by 21-25 points.
The Scottish defence is strong so expect minimal Romanian points but the Scottish attack is poor so a final scoreline of somewhere in the region of 37-13 seems about right.
Scotland: Paterson, Evans, Ansbro, S Lamont, Danielli, Jackson, Blair, Jacobsen, Ford, Cross, Gray, Kellock (capt), Brown, Barclay, Vernon.
Replacements: Lawson, Dickinson, Hines, Rennie, Cusiter, Parks, R Lamont.
Romania: Dumitras, Ciuntu, Gal, Dimofte, Lemnaru, Dumbrava, Sirbu; Carpo, Tonita, Macovei, Petre, Ursache, Ion, Tincu (capt), Lazar.
Replacements: Suman, Florea, Poparlan, Burcea, Surugiu, Cazan, Vlaicu.