Romania will be able to compete again with top rugby teams if its government invests in the sport, Vern Cotter, consultant for the XV des Chênes, told AFP.
Cotter, highly respected in the world of rugby after notably leading Clermont to its first French championship title in 2010, joined the staff of coach Eugen Apjok a month ago. “Romania did not expect to participate in this tournament and will make the most of it,” he assured.
“The rugby team is the only Romanian national team to participate in a world tournament. Footballers have not played in a World Cup since 1998,” he recalls.
During the 1980s and until the start of the following decade, the Romanians were a force to be reckoned with: they had notably dominated France, Wales and Scotland on several occasions.
Since then they have been replaced by Georgia in the role of the European team not taking part in the Six Nations Tournament but which we must be wary of.
However, Adrian Motoc's teammates have the opportunity to show themselves during this World Cup, in which they participate thanks to the exclusion of Spain, guilty of having fielded an unqualified player.
In a twist of fate, it is for the same reason that Romania was unable to play in the World Cup in 2019.
“Romania has tended to invest in Olympic sports to win medals,” says Cotter. “The focus now needs to be on investing in team sports, creating programs and facilities.”
For the New Zealand technician, it is crucial for the development of Romanian rugby that his clubs regularly face high-level teams.
“Italy has two teams that struggled early but got better as they went along,” Cotter said.
“The main Romanian clubs need to regularly compete against the best clubs in Georgia, Portugal, Spain and, hopefully, all of Europe,” he emphasizes.