13th minute: A big congratulations since Romania wins a penalty on the ground on South African territory. They will line up a shot on goal. Now a Mexican wave. It will be that kind of day.
Scandalous. We’re going to get a cricket score. And I mean a Bazball cricket score. Romania can’t get their own ball back, so Smith steals it. South Africa just rolls forward and Willemse clips his right foot and suddenly he has a clear run to the line. He then gets up to place the extras.
And another! Romania reverses the ball after securing it from the restart. The midfield opens up with Kleyn pouncing on the loose ball. Reinach gets up at the back of a ruck, shows himself and leaves without anyone to stop him before sliding under the posts. Willemse offers an easy conversion.
Like a hot knife through butter. Mapimpi scores after receiving a counter-attack from Le Roux. He was fed by Willemse who had the ball on his front foot after Orie’s pullback was followed by a maul which allowed Esterhuizen to make contact. Everything went well for the Boks. This time, Willemse lands the left kick.
5th minute: Vermeulen recovers the raise and makes contact. Clearance from behind the ruck goes beyond the halfway line.
Too easy. South Africa takes the upper hand and finds itself on the blind side. Reinach makes a dummy and easily makes a hole in the Romanian defense to point it.
Willemse is missing. South Africa’s goalscoring woes continue.
3rd minute: SA’s line is scruffy but they have the ball. They work it with the front of the park. Nche with a powerful charge. They knock it down looking to pick up the tempo but will come back for a penalty. They choose to exit a scrum eight meters away.
1st minute: Romani with a meaty carry-over field after the kick-off. They recycle and relaunch the field but it’s direct. SA with the alignment just outside the 22.
There is a late change for the Boks. Vincent Koch is absent. Trevor Nyakane starts with Frans Malherbe moving to the bench.
The hymns are finished. The Seven Nations Army keeps the energy pumping. Romania in yellow and navy blue shorts (I like their outfit). The Boks are back in green after their toothpaste streak last week. Willemse has the ball in the center. He will move us forward with the referee peeeeee!
There are five minutes left. Well done to all the Bok players, but there is a splash of yellow around the ground, especially to my left, and the Romanians will get a lot of love if they manage to land a few blows.
One for Saffa fans wherever they are.
It is worth remembering that Romania qualified for the World Cup through the back door.
Spain had indeed earned the right to participate, but were expelled after an ineligible player was announced during qualifying.
Romania knows all about this particular grief. In 2019, they suffered the same fate for the same rule violation.
The Romanian rugby federation said “justice has been done” after learning of the decision to exclude Spain from the tournament.
Ceea ce vine în jur merges în jur.
It means “What happens, circulates” in Romanian. At least according to Google Translate.
Siya Kolisi has been involved in everything so far. He is not one of the 23 participants today (unless there is a late change that I am unaware of). Yet he works on his back to help run lines and carry fishing bags. He spoke with the goal kickers. He now helps lift jumpers as they practice alignment. The man just won’t stop!
It will be interesting to see who kicks for the Boks today. Manie Libbok does not participate. Not that his goal kicking form was exemplary.
Willemse seems like the most likely candidate, but de Klerk can also do some work. He also fulfills this role with his Japanese club, the Yokohama Canon Eagles.
Both teams warm up on the field.
Lots of footwork from the Boks while the Romanians run drills forward.
While they’re getting ready, why don’t you focus on yesterday’s reports.
Samoa held off a dynamic Chilean team which huffed and puffed but eventually ran out of gas.
SO Louis Rees-Zammit scored a great try and celebrated “Siuuuu” as a disjointed Wales did enough to beat Portugal.
To finish, a very elegant Ireland steamrolled Tonga to highlight their status as the highest ranked team in the world.
Insert Peep Show meme here. Yes, it’s true. There will be four mid-scrums on matchday 23 for South Africa. Of course, only one of them starts with the 9 on his back. This is Cobus Reinach. Grant Williams will start on the wing with Faf de Klerk and Jaden Hendrikse two of the three backs on the bench.
Vincent Koch, front row, makes his first start for South Africa since the 2019 World Cup group match against Canada in October 2019. Since then, he has made 28 appearances off the bench.
Bongi Mbonambi is captain while Siya Kolisi is taking a break. Deon Fourie, professional flanker, named replacement hooker. With Handre Pollard joining the team to replace the injured Malcolm Marx, Fourie will be asked to step up his efforts as the competition drags on.
South Africa: Red; Williams, Moodie, Esterhuizen, Mapimpi; Willemse, Reinach; Nche, Mbonambi (cap), Koch, Kleyn, Orie, Van Staden, Smith, Vermeulen.
Substitutions: Fourie, Kitshoff, Nyakane, Snyman, Wiese, Hendrikse, De Klerk, Kriel.
They were heavily beaten by Ireland in the first round. No one really expects them to cause an upset here.
However, they have made three changes since that first release. Keep an eye out for second rower Adrian Motic who is playing club rugby with French club Biarritz. He’s also keeping tabs on livewire scrum-half Gabriel Rupanu, who scored the opening try of the game against Ireland.
Romania: Simionescu; Manumua, Tomane, Gontineac, Onutu; Vaovasa, Rupanu; Hartig, Cojocaru, Gordas, Motoc, Iftimiciuc, Gorin, Neculau, Chirica (cap).
Substitutions: Irimescu, Savin, Cretu, Iancu, Stratila, Boboc, Conache, Pop.
Good morning! Welcome to the first live blog of a tasty three-course rugby meal this Sunday.
It was a wet morning in Bordeax but that didn’t stop the Saffa hordes from staying in the fight. They are everywhere ! From the port to the city center, it’s a wave of bottle green.
It’s been a busy week for the defending champions with the loss of their star hooker, Malcolm Marx, to an ACL injury. It’s a big blow but the Boks have plenty in reserve.
We’ll see some of these fringe players today as they meet Romani for the first time since their one and only meeting at the 1995 World Cup. It ended in a 21-8 victory for the Boks. I bet head coach Eugen Apjok would be more than happy about that.
I’m delighted to be here in person for this and would love to hear from you. Do you have a photo of yourself on the ground? Have an interesting thought you’d like to share from the comfort of your coach at home? Send them to my house.
Kick-off at 3:00 p.m. local time/2:00 p.m. BST.
More updates, including team news, to come.