Romania look for positives from Tonga loss
‘I’m never happy when we lose, but I can say that I’m excited about how we played’
The Romanians failed to match Tonga’s physical strength as the visitors’ aggressive approach exposed the defensive weakness among The Oakes ahead of the World Cup starting on September 18th.
“It was exactly what we needed - a hard physical match and we needed to know where we are,” the former Wales caretaker coach Howells said. “Of course, I’m never happy when we lose, but I can say that I’m excited about how we played.
“Overall it was a good game but we need to eliminate the mistakes we made. I’d have liked to win but it’s important that we have almost three weeks to the clash with France and we can fix the mistakes.”
Romania, who won the Nations Cup, also known as the ‘Six Nations B’, for the third time in four years in June, will aim to crack a one-win barrier at the World Cup after being drawn in Pool D alongside France, Ireland, Italy and Canada.
Romania’s all-time leading scorer Florin Vlaicu said Howells helped Romania acquire a greater mental toughness and improve many aspects of their game since taking charge in January 2012.
“Since Mr Howells came to the team our game improved a lot,” the 29-year-old said. “He puts pressure on players to increase the level of play and he is also a very good psychologist which is very helpful when we go through rough patches.
“I believe we have learned a lot from his experience and this only made us grow as players.”
Romania have played in every World Cup since the inaugural tournament in 1987 but notched only five wins.
“The style of play that Howells tries to impose is a simple one with focus on scrums and line-outs without complicating things,” Vlaicu, who was part of the Romanian team at the World Cups in 2007 and 2011, said.
“With these two strategies, a good defence and a good kicking game I believe we can win games.”