Preview: Romania v United States

Fri, 11 Nov 2016 11:41
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IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Martin Iosefo will become the United States' 500th Eagle (national team player) when they face Romania at Stadionul Arcul de Triumf in Bucharest on Saturday.

Four other players will also earn their Test debuts in the John Mitchell-coached team.

Bryce Campbell, Nick Civetta, and US Eagles Sevens captain Madison Hughes will also receive Test caps after making their senior debuts for the against the New Zealand Maori in a non-cap international last week.

Todd Clever will captain the US against Romania in the nations' eighth meeting.

Clever, the most-capped Eagle, is set to appear in his 69th Test, played in his first Test for the US in 2003.

The Eagles have qualified for seven of the eight World Cup tournaments.

Iosefo, a Rio 2016 Olympian for team USA, claims a spot on the wing, with Blaine Scully injected into the backline, while Hughes will start his first international XVs match at fullback.

Campbell, out of Indiana University, will move from outside center to inside center Saturday, partnering Thretton Palamo in a new midfield combination.

Nate Augspurger and Will Holder will run the attack from scrumhalf and flyhalf respectively.

Joe Taufete'e, a reserve last weekend, starts at hooker - between tighthead prop Chris Baumann and loosehead prop Titi Lamositele, with the latter scheduled to return to Saracens following the match in Bucharest.

Civetta will also be returning to Newcastle Falcons, but not before he earns his first cap at lock Saturday next to Nate Brakeley.

World Cup veteran Al McFarland will stabilize the scrum alongside the captain in the loose forwards, while Olympian Andrew Durutalo is set to make his first appearance of the November tour at No.8.

Weighing in at more than 900 kilogrammes, the pack will have the task of lining up against a sizable opponent that prides itself on strong set pieces in Romania.

"Our men up front are in for a huge challenge," Mitchell said.

"Romania realizes their strengths and we will have to be at our very best these areas of our game, as well. It'll be a very physical exchange."

In addition to the threats in the starting XV, several professionals unavailable for the sold-out match last weekend joined the team in Europe this week.

Langilangi Haupeakui, the most recent American international to have signed a professional contract, is in line for his second Eagles cap in the reserves.

Also back with the squad is Samu Manoa, who was last seen in a US jersey at World Cup 2015.

The two California natives will offer additional size and strength to the forwards, while Saint Mary's College graduate Dino Waldren could make his debut in the front row.

Alex Maughan was unable to travel with the squad to Bucharest, necessitating the call-up of World Cup veteran Eric Fry.

The University of California graduate starts Saturday's match from the bench.

Matai Leuta could add his name to the list of capped Eagles Saturday, as well, wearing the No.23 jersey.

The Eagles have not lost a match to Romania since the 1999 World Cup and hold a three-match winning streak against the Oaks in addition to the six-one all-time record.

Ranked one spot ahead of the US in 16th, Romania has won seven of eight matches throughout 2016, the most recent against Argentina XV.

Teams:

Romania: 15 Catalin Fercu, 14 Tangimana Fonovai, 13 Jack Umaga, 12 Florin Vlaicu, 11 Ionut Dumitru, 10 Jody Rose, 9 Florin Surugiu, 8 Stelian Burcea (captain), 7 Vasile Rus, 6 Viorel Lucaci, 5 Marius Antonescu, 4 Johan Van Heerden, 3 Alexandru Tarus, 2 Eugen Capatana, 1 Mihaita Lazar.
Replacements: 16 Andrei Radoi, 17 Ionel Badiu, 18 Alexandru Gordas,19 Valentin Poparlan, 20Andrei Gorcioaia, 21 Valentin Calafeteanu, 22 Stephen Shennan, 23 Vladut Popa.

United States: 15 Madison Hughes, 14 Blaine Scully, 13 Thretton Palamo, 12 Bryce Campbell, 11 Martin Iosefo, 10 Will Holder, 9 Nate Augspurger, 8 Andrew Durutalo, 7 Todd Clever (captain), 6 Al McFarland, 5 Nick Civetta, 4 Nate Brakeley, 3 Chris Baumann, 2 Joe Taufete'e, 1 Titi Lamositele.
Replacements: 16 James Hilterbrand, 17 Eric Fry, 18 Dino Waldren, 19 Samu Manoa, 20 Langilangi Haupeakui, 21 Stephen Tomasin, 22 JP Eloff, 23 Matai Leuta.

Date: Saturday, November 12
Venue: Stadionul Arcul de Triumf, Bucharest
Kick-off: 18.00 (11.00 USA Eastern time;  16.00 GMT)
Referee: Paul Williams (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Greg Garner (England), Gary Conway (Ireland)
TMO: Carlo Damasco (Italy)

Source: @USARugby