Scotland coach Frank Hadden today reminded supporters of the formidable strength in depth available to the Romanian national team ahead of Tuesday’s vital Rugby World Cup pool C clash between the nations at Murrayfield.
Hadden was speaking after Romania had opened their World Cup campaign with a gutsy 18-24 loss to Italy in Marseille and following a Scotland training session which saw four of the casualties from recent matches resume in full.
He said: I believe there is a tendency for people to be disrespectful of countries they know very little about.
We’ve been following Romania very closely for the last 18 months or so.
"They have over 100 full-time professionals playing in France and many of those players are at the best clubs in France.
“Yes, we played them at Murrayfield in the autumn of 2006 but they had a week to prepare for that match. Contrast to this year when they’ve been together getting ready for the World Cup for some four months.”
Hadden praised the strength of their pack, noted improvements to their defensive lineout and reflected that full-back Julian Dumitra kicks the ball further than Gavin Henson.
He urged Scotland supporters to turn up in their hordes at Murrayfield on Tuesday (kick-off 8pm) for a match which, should Scotland win, would almost certainly see his team across their first hurdle in this campaign - namely to ensure automatic qualification for the 2011 World Cup in New Zealand.
“We desperately need as many people as possible to get down to the Ticket Centre at Murrayfield, buy their tickets and get behind us.
“We saw the effect it had here in St Etienne last weekend when it seemed at some stages that 30,000 people were roaring on the Portuguese and it would be great if there is that kind of intimidating atmosphere in our favour at Murrayfield on Tuesday, he added.
Hadden said that latest ticket sales project a crowd of between 25,000 and 30,000 for the match against the Romanians. “That would be pretty similar to the attendance at our August Tests against Ireland and South Africa and there was a good atmosphere at both those games,” he acknowledged.
Hadden also praised the Scotland football team following their 1-0 win in their Euro 2008 qualifying group against France at the Parc des Princes in Paris, midweek. He had sent a congratulatory message to Scotland football manager Alex McLeish last night.
Asked if the result could inspire his players, he said: “It shows what can be achieved by a small country like ours.”
Some 28 players were involved in today’s training session under an azure blue sky appropriately with vapour trails from the aviation traffic creating giant saltires - at L’Etrat.
Nathan Hines, Rory Lamont, Allister Hogg and, most encouragingly of all, Andrew Henderson all took a full part in the session. Henderson has been working hard with Scotland’s medical and fitness teams on an individual basis to recover from the severe dead leg he sustained against South Africa last month and today’s was the first full team session he has completed in France.
Sean Lamont did not train as he continues to receive extensive treatment for twisting his ankle against Portugal, while Gavin Kerr was absent, sitting a long-arranged exam in Lyon as part of his surveying course.