Romania have taken the final place at New Zealand 2011 after securing a 5 tries to 2 victory over Uruguay today in front of a fullhouse crowd at the Stadionul National Arcul de Triumf in Bucharest. The two teams entered on level terms after drawing thefirst clash in Montevideo two weeks ago. Romania were the better side from the get go shoing their dominance in leading by an impressive 21-0 at half time. Uruguay, like they have done in their tests over the past year, left their best until the second half but this time around were not able to catch the Europeans and were eliminated from qualification for New Zealand 2011 by a scoreline of 39-12.
Congratulations to Romania and good luck in New Zealand 2011. In qualifying, the Oaks will continue their tradition of participating at every Rugby World Cup so far. Aside from the Six Nations they are the only European country to ahve been to every Rugby World Cup. They will be in a very tough group with matches against Argentina, England, Georgia and Scotland. Realistically the clash vs Georgia is the only they certainly have the forwards to match it with anybody.
Despite failing to qualify it is clear that Uruguay were given a far more difficult path than African and European countries. Uruguay, despite winning the South American zone of qualification were not awarded automatic qualification as champions of Sul Americano. Rather, they were put into a play-off vs the United States who happen to be a far better side than the teams that Namibia defeated to qualify as Africa´s champion and Japan as Asia´s champion. Europe is gifted six spots to the Six Nations sides plus two direct qualifying places which were taken by Georgia and Russia. North America is awarded one with the runner up, which was the USA, facing the South American champion. It is a system that favors Africa and ignores the ability of Uruguay who have been to two Rugby World Cup´s and won two matches. Namibia, in contrast, have been to three Rugby World Cup´s and have never won a match and have never looked like doing so. Namibia were badly defeated today 33-20 by Spain in Madrid. Spain are not ranked in the top 10 in Europe.
Hopefully sense can prevail and Africa´s champion will face a similar task to South America´s champion. Direct qualification for Africa but not for South America is not only unfair it is nonsense with nothing in terms of history or ability to support the policy of the IRB.