Romania ring the changes

Thu, 22 Sep 2011 00:00

Romanian coach Romeo Gontineac has made 11 changes to his team to play England in their Pool B World Cup clash at the Otago Stadium in Dunedin on Saturday.

The most striking alteration to the team beaten 43-8 by Argentina in Romania's previous Pool B clash in Invercargill last Saturday is that star hooker and captain Marius Tincu, who plays for French Top 14 club Perpignan, has dropped down to the bench.

In the backs Iulian Dumitras remains but moves from fullback to inside centre with Ionel Cazan moving to midfield from the wing. Meanwhile in the pack Ovidiu Tonita shifts across to No 8 from openside flank.

The team will be captained by Cristian Petre, who retains his place at lock.

Romania also lost their opening match, running Scotland close before going down 34-24. They only have a four-day turnaround between facing England and playing Georgia in their final pool match in Palmerston North on Wednesday.

Both Romania and Georgia will regard their final pool clash as their most 'winnable' game of the tournament, which goes some way to explaining why there have been so many changes made for the game against England.

England have won all four of their previous Tests against Romania. That includes a 134-0 thrashing when the teams last met at Twickenham in 2001 for what was England's largest-ever points total in a full international.

Romania: 15 Florin Vlaicu, 14 Stefan Ciuntu, 13 Ionel Cazan, 12 Iulian Dumitras, 11 Adrian Apostol, 10 Marin Dumbrava, 9 Lucian Sirbu, 8 Ovidiu Tonita, 7 Sandu Burcea, 6 Cosmin Ratiu, 5 Cristian Petre (captain), 4 Valentin Poperlan, 3 Silviu Florea, 2 Bogdan Zebega, 1 Nicolae Nere.
Replacements: 16 Marius Tincu, 17 Paulica Ion, 18 Mihai Macovei, 19 Daniel Ianus, 20 Valentin Calefeteanu, 21 Csaba Gal, 22 Catalin Nicolae.

Date: Saturday, September 24
Venue: Otago Stadium, Dunedin
Kick-off: 18.00 (06.00 GMT)
Referee: Romain Poite (France)
Assistant referees: Jonathan Kaplan (South Africa), Simon McDowell (Ireland)
TMO: Shaun Veldsman (South Africa)