Romania and Uruguay will butt heads on Saturday in Bucharest with nothing less than the final opening at the 2011 Rugby World Cup at stake. The winner of this match will determine who will play the role of “sacrificial lamb” to Argentina, England, Scotland and even Georgia in Pool B of next year’s World Cup.
This match is the second of a series of two matches between these two teams for this last open slot in the world cup, earlier this month they met in Montevideo, Uruguay and fought to a 21-21 tie. In the two previous times these teams have met (2008, 2009 – both in Bucharest) Romania walked away the winner, giving them what has to be more than a home-field advantage going into this game.
So far this year the highlight for the Uruguayans was a run through the South American Championships’ semi-final match, where they lost to the world’s #8 ranked team Argentina 38-0. They’ve also competed in the 2010 Churchill Cup in the United States, losing their three matches to Canada, France “A” squad, and then losing to Russia 38-19 in the Bowl Final match.
On the other side of the scrum, Romania has a record of six wins, zero losses and one tie in their 2011 Rugby World Cup qualifying matches. They’ve also finished third in this year’s European Nations Cup, behind Georgia and Russia.
Should this game be tied at the end of regulation, the two teams will continue with a period of extra time, then a first-score-takes-all, “two men enter, one man leaves,” Thunderdome-esque sudden death overtime. If no one takes the lead after this, then there will be some kind of a kicking competition, followed by an ice dancing contest, a beer keg chugging contest, a “prettiest mascot” competition, and possibly a match of Tiddly-Winks to determine a winner. But by Buddha someone is going to walk off of that field a winner.
(And someone should tell Bud Selig to take notes, when you have a one-off important game… such as an “All-Star” game, one team needs to walk away the winner, especially if there are important ramifications for the winning side)