RWC: 5 Things You Need to Know About Romania
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RWC: 5 Things You Need to Know About Romania

RWC: 5 Things You Need to Know About Romania

Romania has competed in all of the World Cups since 1987. They tend to struggle at that level and it’s hard to tell where the largely amateur team will be in an increasingly intense and competitive environment.

1. It’s All About the Forwards

Romania has a very positive strength. That is their scrum. Like a lot of the tier 2 nations such as Uruguay and Georgia (and Argentina in past decades), their scrum is a focal point and they take advantage of some big units and competitive, technical scrummaging to make it a feature of their game.

In fact, it is often discussed that Romania’s tactics are less about finding space to attack and more about removing space and forcing mistakes. That allows the Eastern Europeans to make use of their scrum. For a great example, have a look at their demolition of Canada’s scrum in their 18-9 win in November last year.

2. The Backs – or Lack Thereof

Georgia v Romania - IRB RWC 2011 Match 32

Georgia v Romania at the 2011 Rugby World Cup

Compared to their forwards, Romania’s backs lag quite a bit. What they lack in attacking flair, they make up with in aggressive defence – putting on the pressure to cause those errors the forwards rely on.

The Oaks will want more from their backs, though. There’s only so far you can get without some attacking threats. That’s especially the case when you have France and Ireland in your pool.

3. Catalin Fercu

RUGBY-IRB-NATIONS-CUP-ROU-NAM

Catalin Fercu

If the Oaks’ backs are going to fire, it will be on the back of Fercu. The Saracens fullback is the only full time professional in the Romanian backline and he’s used to performing in the Aviva Premiership with six starts for Sarries since he was signed last year.

Fercu is the closest the Romanians have to a try-scoring machine. He’s known for his hat-trick for Bucharest against Bayonne in the Challenge cup and has crossed the stripe 28 times for Romania in his 79 games. England’s a little closer for him than New Zealand, as well. It should be an easier trip for him than the 2011 World Cup, which he didn’t attend because a fear of flying kept him off the 40 hour flight.

Romania will hope he does some serious flying on the field in this year’s Cup.

4. The Form

Italy v Romania - IRB RWC 2007 Match Twelve

Italy v Romania at the 2007 Rugby World Cup

Romania have been a busy bunch of Rugby players. They’ve already run out for seven tests this year. Of those, they’ve won five. With a loss to their neighbours across the Black Sea, Georgia, and an out of character loss to Russia.

They also have good form with victories over Canada and Tonga in very recent memory, as well as close losses to Japan and the USA. While they are qualified at the bottom of their pool, they would have to be favourites over Canada and would also be eyeing Italy – especially in light of their strong recent form over Emerging Italy. With nine professionals playing across Top14, Aviva and ProD2, this team is being hailed as one of their best ever.

5. Mihai Macovei

RUGBYU-IRB-NATIONS-CUP-ROU-NAM

Romania will rely on their inspirational captain and flanker to drive the team around the field. The 62 test veteran will be a key element as part of the Oaks’ 8-man shove as well as a link and support man for the backs – who will need all of the help they can get.

Macovei plies his trade in ProD2 with Colomiers and in his 62 tests, he has scored 11 tries. He’s a good all-rounder and will be an important target in the lineout. However, his most important job is leading the defensive line and forcing the turnovers and errors the Romanians love to exploit.

  • Nutta

    Go Namibia. It’s a pity we can’t get some post-pool scratch-matches going like Namibia vs Romania as when would anyone ever see match-ups like that?

    • Pedro

      yeah totally agree. Also would love to see a barbarians team of class players that didn’t make the WC play some teams that didn’t make the knockouts.

      • John Tynan

        You must have been lostening in on one of my four yearly drunken rants! I reckon instead of the bullshit 3rd vs 4th, they should have a nth vs sth baabaa game. At least one player from every team not in the final.

    • Chris M

      While it pains me to be “that guy”, Romania beat Namibia 43-3 in June.

      But I understand what you mean. The teams are there and they’d probably appreciate a few competitive games, as well.

      • Nutta

        Come on now. Truth. How much pain did that actually cause you?

        • Chris M

          Got me

      • John Tynan

        Revel in it my man!

  • Patrick

    I’m backing Romania to make third spot which will be its own step forward for them. Given a chance they could theoretically knock off France for the upset of the decade but if there is one big team whose strengths are perfectly aligned to Romania it is France, so I can’t see better than third as a best case.

    I think they’ll take third over two higher ranked nations though!

Rugby

Mrs Mac thinks Chris talks about Rugby far too much. She's probably right. If he's not coaching, he's watching. And if he's not doing either, he's jibbering incessantly about it. He has also been named as a finalist in the Asteron Life Community Coach of the Year for 2015. Mrs Mac remains unimpressed.

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