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Former Scotland coach Dixon impressed by Romania

Updated: September 11, 2011, 05:16


INVERCARGILL, New Zealand(AP) Georgia coach Richie Dixon thinks Scotland's struggles against Romania in the World Cup Pool B opener was an indication of a possible power shift in European rugby.

And he's well placed to make the call, being a former Scotland coach.

Dixon's Georgia team will play Scotland on Wednesday in its first match of the tournament at Invercargill's Rugby Park Stadium.

Dixon said he was impressed with Romania's toughness against Scotland, which needed two late tries to beat the eastern Europeans 34-24 on Saturday.

Romania "showed perhaps the gap between the ENC-1 (European Nations Cup) and the Six Nations is not as great as people might believe,'' he said.

But Dixon also paid his former side a compliment.

"Because Scotland are used to playing with more pace and intensity, the two tries they constructed to win the game, any team would be pleased with them,'' he said.

Georgia captain Irakli Abuseridze says Scotland's narrow win confused the issue in Pool B.

"We know England, Argentina and Scotland are world-class teams, so we planned to at least win the match against Romania,'' he said. "But we'll see how things go, we just want to play.''

"We did not expect such a good game from Romania. They had a strong scrum and watching this game gave us hope. But we expect Scotland to be better against us and to improve their level,'' he said. "Romania could have won if their defense had been better in the last few minutes.''

Georgia is 16th in the IRB rankings. The team is 1-7 at the World Cup, with its only win against Namibia in 2007, when it also lost narrowly to Ireland 14-10.

Abuseridze is hopeful of better things ahead.

"In Georgia, the rugby has improved,'' he said. "We have better infrastructures, better organization, the clubs are growing. We did not know what to expect for our first World Cup in 2003. Then we improved and in our match against Ireland in 2007, we were so close to them that it was like a win for us and it gave us confidence to do better.''

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