Italy 32 – 22 Romania
A tough gig this, for Romania, no doubt: backing up from playing a come-from-behind win against Canada just five days ago.
But they were barely one-dimensional in this match: smash into contact. Repeat. It was not until the 78th minute, when the match was gone, that they produced a try of beautiful skill, precision and vision. If only, if only, they wanted to play like that always.
Italy was barely better, going width to width into contact. Yes they scored four tries, but only when they showed some subtlety in attack to create an opening, and they only did that sporadically against a very tired opponent. They will be satisfied to have finished third in their pool, and therefore have automatic entry to japan 2019, but they shouldn’t be too happy. Japan at least came to this Cup with the ambition of making the quarter-finals, even if they will fall just short.
What is Italy trying to do? Just make up the numbers? They could be, should be, so much better for having access to the European competitions.
Romain Poite, the referee, rather sadly let his performance fall as well. He missed offsides and forward passes, and was oddly talkative with the players. He, too, was looking tired.