Veteran lock Simon Shaw believes Romania represent the “perfect” opponents for England as they bid to raise their game at the World Cup.
England, aiming for a third straight World Cup final appearance, are well-placed in Pool B after wins over Argentina and Georgia in their first two matches of the tournament.
But both fixtures have been notable for the way England have fallen foul of the referee, with Martin Johnson’s men conceding 11 penalties alone in the first half of Sunday’s 41-10 win against Georgia.
England conclude their Pool campaign against old rivals Scotland in Auckland next weekend.
But Shaw denied suggestions facing the Scots this Saturday would sharpen up England’s game, saying playing Romania in Dunedin’s Otago Stadium would be ideal for the squad.
“I think it’s the perfect game to have, they are going to be a lot like the Georgians, tough up front,” said Shaw.
“There will be opportunities to score tries and it will be a test of our patience and composure to put those tries away.
“Everyone was expecting a bit more free-flowing rugby but it was never going the be the case against these first three opponents.”
Shaw, summoned to Australia as a replacement player for England’s victorious 2003 World Cup campaign and a member of the side that lost to the Springboks in the final four years ago, said now was not the time for the squad to hit top-form.
“It’s not all about winning the World Cup today.”
At the age of 38, Shaw - released by Wasps before the start of the present Aviva Premiership season and currently without a club - is the oldest player in England’s World Cup squad.
“A lot of people make more of it than I ever do,” Shaw said.
“I wouldn’t say I’m Peter Pan but I don’t feel it that much. I was training Monday with everyone else, it’s not an issue.”
The build-up to the Georgia match was overshadowed by the furore caused by the squad’s night out drinking in Queenstown, that led to video footage of centre Mike Tindall and an unidentified blonde being posted on the internet.
Shaw bemoaned the surveilance players were now subjected to as a result of some fans with cameras in mobile phones and others, such as the Queenstown bouncer who posted the images of Tindall, wanting “to make a buck”.
“It does sadden me, but that’s just the way it is,” said Shaw.
“What I have always loved about rugby, and what the spectators have always loved, is the fact they can gain access to players.
“The more this continues, the less and less access the supporters will have to players because players will just hide away.”
Both England and Romania are due to name their teams for Saturday’s match on Thursday.