Team Guide – Romania
WORLD RANKING: 17
SUMMED UP IN THREE WORDS: Physical, Immense, Fighters
THE HEAD COACH: Romania head coach Lynn Howells took over The Oaks in 2012, signing a deal until after the World Cup in 2015. Howells was the assistant coach to the Wales national team under Graham Henry during the 1999 Rugby World Cup. He then took over as the caretaker head coach for the Wales tour to Japan in 2001 while Henry was touring as coach of the British and Irish Lions.
FAMILIAR FACES: Saracens Cătălin Fercu has made 80 caps for his country and was a popular figure during his time with Romanian club side Bucuresti Wolves between 2005 and 2014. Other key players in the group include Gsaba Gal and Florin Vlaicu, who have each won over 80 caps respectively.
KEY PLAYER: The towering sturdy lock Mihai Macovei made his debut for Romania aged 19 in 2006 and since has been a stalwart in the Oaks side. The 28-year old is relatively unknown due to him playing his club rugby in his native country but the man-mountain captivated everyone when he Captained his country four year’s ago.
YOUNG GUN: 20-year old Sabin Stratila may be the Oaks second-choice fullback, but he has already shown a lot of promise. The No.15 has displayed he has the pace, handling skills and power to be a future star of the Romania national team.
STYLE: The Romanians take a very physical approach to every game, centering their performances around their powerful force at scrum time. The team also has also always had an impeccable team spirit.
BEST RWC MOMENT: Romania recovered from 10-5 down to beat the USA in 1999, scoring four fantastic tries. It remains one of the most fondly remembered matches for the Oaks in RWC history.
WORST RWC MOMENT: Losing every game at the World Cup in 2011 was probably the sourest note in the Oaks RWC history.
COMMENTATOR’S GO-TO FACT: Only Ireland legend Brian O’Driscoll has started more RWC games at centre then Romania’s Romeo Gontineac, who played 14 times from 1995 to 2007.
EXPECTATIONS: The Romania faithful will want their side to compete physically in all their games, even if their skill level sometimes doesn’t make the grade. A fourth-place finish will be expected nevertheless as fans will expect them to have enough to overcome Canada.
VIEW FROM THE STANDS: Codrin, 25, Bucharest
Where do you think the Oaks are strongest? In the pack for sure, we have the best scrum I think on our day in world rugby in fairness. Think out backs are improving as we have got a bit of pace there that we didn’t have prior.
How do you think they will do at the World Cup? Hoping for at least a win, was gutting to lose every game four years ago.
Who do you think will win it? England I think, the hosts have a big advantage by playing at the fortress Twickenham.
RUCK VERDICT: The Romanians, despite their immense power, have been handed a difficult Pool. They will fancy their chances against Canada but will struggle to get anything from their other three fixtures.
23/09/2015: France vs. Romania, Olympic Stadium (London). Kick off 20:00
27/09/2015: Ireland vs. Romania, Wembley Stadium (London). Kick off 16:45
06/10/2015: Canada vs. Romania, Leicester City Stadium. Kick off 16:45
11/10/2015: Italy vs. Romania, Sandy Park (Exeter). Kick off 14:30
Total travelling between games:
Forwards: Paulica Ion, Mihaita Lazar, Andrei Ursache, Alexandru Tarus, Horatiu Pungea, Andrei Radoi, Otar Turashvili, Eugen Capatana, Valentin Popirlan, Johannes van Heerden, Marius Antonescu, Valentin Ursache, Mihai Macovei, Viorel Lucaci, Stelian Burcea, Ovidiu Tonita, Daniel Carpo.
Backs: Florin Surugiu, Valentin Calafeteanu, Tudorel Bratu, Danut Dumbrava, Michael Wiringi, Paula Kinikilau, Florin Vlaicu, Csaba Gal, Adrian Apostol, Ionut Botezatu, Florin Ionita, Madalin Lemnaru, Catalin Fercu, Sabin Stratila.