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ENC 1A – PREVIEW| Romania v Spain

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Preview Romania v Spain – Battle Royale up front!

rom15Based on its 56-year history the match Romania v Spain was expected to be just another run-of-the-mill affair in the second round of Rugby Europe Championship, yet after last week’s momentous Spanish victory over Russia, it has acquired a new significance,  that could impact the fortunes of the two sides in the competition and beyond. The match will be played at the Cluj Arena, the scene of a comprehensive Romanian win two years ago. This time it may not be so easy, Chris Thau reports:

This is the 32nd match between the two countries since 1958, when they met for the first time at the unlikely venue of the Bruxelles International Exhibition. About 20 years later, the two countries started to play each other on a regular basis, as part of what then was called the FIRA Championship, of which both were founding members. The first Spanish win was recorded in 1992, a modest 6-0 in Madrid, followed by a second, exactly ten years later, with the Oaks acknowledging defeat at the paws of Los Leones, by the narrowest of margins 13-12 also in Madrid.  The last time the two played each other, was also in Cluj in 2013, with the Romanians winning handsomely 32-6 to sign off their entry to the RWC 2015 tournament.

Both teams have won their Rugby Europe Championship first round matches, but there seem to be a difference between the ways the two coaches perceive the respective bonus-point wins. It is quite clear that Santos is delighted with the six-try win over the the Bears and would like to carry on in the same manner at Cluj. “The win against Russia has motivated our players but Romania is a much stronger side. We start hoping to win, but we are aware that this is going to be a difficult encounter,” he said before the match.

Not unexpectedly coach Santos, a former international hooker and captain of Spain during his playing days has identified the Romanian scrummage as one of their key assets and felt that by disrupting it may shift the balance in Spain’s favour. This is why, although the Spanish front five performed very well against their Russian counterparts, producing among others a pushover try, the coach, a former Spain hooker, decided to change the entire front row for the Romanian challenge. The pedigree of the new front row , who all play professional rugby abroad, is as impressive as the trio they replaced, with loose-head Fernando Martin Lopez a regular with the ProD2 club Massy, Marco Pinto Ferrer the hooker of Beziers RC also in ProD2, and tight-head Jesus Moreno Rodriguez,  performing his trade with Leeds Carnegie in the English Championship.

Behind the pack, Santos has retained the influential scrum half Guillaume Rouet, of Bayonne, who played a significant role in last week’s winning performance as well as most of the back division that run riot against Russia. The only other change to the winning team was at fullback, with Angel Lopez Vasquez, taking over from two-tries hero Pedro Martin.

In the offing, a battle Royale between the two packs, with the Romanian front row also altered to include the newly arrived Andrei Ursache, a regular with the Carcassonne club and brother of Valentin, the blind-side flanker of the Oaks, who is playing for Oyonnax. The arrival of fullback Catalin Fercu from London has given the Romanians a bit of confidence, but the injury of their main kicker Florin Vlaicu and of scrum-half Florin Surugiu, has exposed the lack of depth in key positions. Last week, it was scrum-half Valentin Calafeteanu who took over the kicking duties and he did an excellent job with 100% success rate.

Lynn Howells, the Welshman who coaches Romania, observed that there was a significant difference between the Spanish team Romania played two years ago and the present Leones XV. “The Spanish team play with very good structure, high levels of skill and are well organised in defence,” he said.   He pointed out that the Romanian win against Portugal was not entirely satisfactory, for a team of Romanian’s ambitions and standard. “”We made too many unforced errors and I felt disappointed. We played well for 15-20 minutes, scored a few tries, and then lost our shape and started to make mistakes. It was a good win, but not a good performance and I told the players that it was not good enough for a team that is on its way to the RWC. To be fair, it is always like that with the first match.  WE all know that the match against Spain is going to be very difficult and that we must go up at least a level.”

Romania 1. Mihaita Lazar, 2. Otar Turashvili, 3. Andrei Ursache, 4. Valentin Poparlan, 5. Marius Antonescu, 6. Viorel Lucaci, 7. Valentin Ursache, 8. Mihai Macovei (Captain), 9. Valentin Calafeteanu, 10. Danut Dumbrava, 11. Ionut Botezatu, 12. Csaba Gal, 13. Robert Dascalu, 14. Adrian Apostol, 15. Catalin Fercu,

Replacements : 16.Andrei Radoi, 17. Constantin Pristavita, 18. Horatiu Pungea, 19. Marius Sirbe, 20. Stelian Burcea, 21. Grigoras Diaconescu, 22.Florin Ionita, 23. Dorin Manole.

Spain: 1. Fernando Martin Lopez Perez, 2.Marco Pinto Ferrer, 3.Jesus Moreno Rodriguez, 4. Ignacio Villanueva Martín, 5.Jesus Recuerda Núñez (Captain), 6.David Barrera Howarth, 7. Gautier Gibouin Fontana, 8. Jaime Maria Nava de Olano, 9. Guillaume Guy Rouet, 10. Daniel Ross Snee, 11. Sebastien Ascarat, 12. Martin Heredia, 13. Marcos Gustavo Poggi Ranwez, 14. Julen Goia Iriberri, 15. Angel López Vázquez,

Replacements : 16. Lorenzo Gabriel Agustín Ortiz Crivelli, 17. Juan Anaya Lázaro, 18. Francisco Javier Sanz Benlloch, 19. David Gonzales, 20. Javier De Juan Roldán, 21. Gregory Maiquez, 22. Pablo Fontes de Castro, 23. Pablo Feijoo Ugalde.

Referee D. Wilkinson (Ieland) TJ : K. Barry (Ireland) B. O’Connell (Ireland)

Last 10 Games played between the Romania and Spain
22-Feb-14 Romania 32 – 06 Spain
23-Feb-13 Spain 15 – 25 Romania
17-Mar-12 Spain 13 – 12 Romania
19-Mar-11 Romania 64 – 08 Spain
27-Mar-10 Romania 48 – 03 Spain
7-Feb-09 Spain 10 – 19 Romania
23-Feb-08 Spain 11 – 17 Romania
10-Mar-07 Romania 50 – 14 Spain
14-Oct-06 Spain 20 – 43 Romania
6-Mar-04 Romania 50 – 10 Spain
Overall Stats Romania Overall Stats Spain
romania spain
Games Played 31 Games Played 31
*Games Won 29 *Games Won 2
*Games Lost 2 *Games Lost 29
Games Drawn 0 Games Drawn 0
*Longest.Winning.Streak 14 *Longest.Winning.Streak 1
*Longest Losing Streak 1 *Longest Losing Streak 14
*Largest Points For 74 *Largest Points For 20
*Largest Points Against 20 *Largest Points Against 74
*Largest.Winning.Margin 71 *Largest.Winning.Margin 6
*Largest Losing Margin -6 *Largest Losing Margin -71
*Total Points For 931 *Total Points For 294
*Avg Points For 30.03 *Avg Points For 9.48
*Total Points Against 294 *Total Points Against 931
*Avg Points Against 9.48 *Avg Points Against 30.03
*Total Points Difference 637 *Total Points Difference -637
*Avg Points Difference 20.55 *Avg Points Difference -20.55
* = By Romania * = By Spain

POSSIBLE RR World Rankings outcome on Result

ROM (on 67.96 points) at home -vs- ESP (on 62.20 points)

Possible Outcome Rating Point
Exchange
New ROM
Rating
New ESP
Rating
Will ESP
overtake ROM?
If ROM win by 1-15 points 0.124 68.08 62.08 No
If ROM win by more than 15 0.186 68.15 62.01 No
If result is a draw 0.876 67.08 63.08 No
If ESP win by 1-15 points 1.876 66.08 64.08 No
If ESP win by more than 15 2.814 65.15 65.01 No

2014-16 European Nations Cup > ENC 1A

First leg
1 RESULT 7/02/2015 Portugal 10 v 37 Romania
2 RESULT 7/02/2015 Spain 43 v 20 Russia
3 RESULT 7/02/2015 Germany 08.v.64 Georgia
4 PREVIEW 14/02/2015 Georgia 00 v 00 Portugal
5 PREVIEW 14/02/2015 Romania 00 v 00 Spain
6 PREVIEW 14/02/2015 Germany 00 v 00 Russia
7 Not .Played 28/02/2015 Spain 00 v 00 Georgia
8 Not .Played 28/02/2015 Russia 00 v 00 Romania
9 Not .Played 28/02/2015 Portugal 00 v 00 Germany
10 Not .Played 14/03/2015 Georgia 00 v 00 Russia
11 Not .Played 14/03/2015 Portugal 00 v 00 Spain
12 Not .Played 14/03/2015 Germany 00 v 00 Romania
13 Not .Played 21/03/2015 Romania 00 v 00 Georgia
14 Not .Played 21/03/2015 Russia 00 v 00 Portugal
15 Not .Played 21/03/2015 Spain 00.v.00 Germany

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