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Ireland at the 2019 Rugby World Cup

Howells Makes Eight Changes To Romanian Side

Howells Makes Eight Changes To Romanian Side

Romania head coach Lynn Howells has made eight changes to the team to play Ireland in Sunday’s Rugby World Cup Pool D clash at Wembley Stadium (kick-off 4.45pm).

New Zealand-born out-half Michael Wiringi, who has one cap, will make his Rugby World Cup debut in Romania’s most experienced test team of all-time, with 728 caps in their starting line-up.

Ionut Botezatu, Andrei Radoi and Andrei Ursache have been drafted into the team after coming on as replacements during the 38-11 loss to France. Tongan centre Paula Kinikilau also starts.

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Oyonnax clubman Valentin Ursache will miss Sunday’s game after picking up a one-week suspension for a dangerous tackle against France. Viorel Lucaci will move across to the blindside flanker berth, with talismanic captain Mihai Macovei selected at openside owing to tournament newcomer Daniel Carpo’s inclusion at number 8.

Veteran lock Ovidiu Tonita was sprung from the bench on Wednesday night to become the fourth Romanian player to play at four World Cups. Against Ireland, he will equal the Romanian record of World Cup appearances held by 2011 World Cup head coach Romeo Gontineac.

Tonita (aged 35) has played in all of Romania’s last 13 World Cup matches going back to the 2003 tournament, including the 45-17 defeat by Ireland, and he and Paul O’Connell are the only ones involved then who are also involved now.

Tonita also played in Romania’s last Test meeting with Ireland, the 43-12 reversal at Lansdowne Road in November 2005, as did Csaba Gal and Catalin Fercu, who both start in the back-line on Sunday.

Full-back Fercu, who signed for English club Saracens last year, is still just one try from becoming his country’s record try scorer. He has been stuck on 28 tries for 17 Tests stretching back more than two years.

Welshman Lynn Howells, who has coached Romania since 2012, said: “(The four-day turnaround between matches) has been very difficult for us, but the players have used the time well and by time we arrive at Wembley we will be ready.

“I wanted to pick the best team and one that would do us proud. Experience was a factor but not a deciding one.”

ROMANIA Team & Replacements (v Ireland, 2015 Rugby World Cup Pool D, Wembley Stadium, Sunday, September 27, kick-off 4.45pm):

15. Catalin Fercu (Saracens)
14. Adrian Apostol (CSM Stiinta Baia Mare)
13. Paula Kinkinilau (Timisoara Saracens)
12. Csaba Gal (Universitatea Cluj)
11. Ionut Botezatu (CSM Stiinta Baia Mare)
10. Michael Wiringi (CSM Stiinta Baia Mare)
9. Valentin Calafeteanu (Timisoara Saracens)
1. Andrei Ursache (Carcassonne)
2. Andrei Radoi (Timisoara Saracens)
3. Paulica Ion (Perpignan)
4. Valentin Poparlan (Timisoara Saracens)
5. Ovidiu Tonita (Aix-en-Provence)
6. Viorel Lucaci (CSA Steaua)
7. Mihai Macovei (Colomiers) (capt)
8. Daniel Carpo (CSM Bucuresti)

Replacements:

16. Otar Turashvili (Colomiers)
17. Mihaita Lazar (Castres Olympique)
18. Alexandru Tarus (Timisoara Saracens)
19. Johannes van Heerden (CSM Stiinta Baia Mare)
20. Stelian Burcea (Timisoara Saracens)
21. Florin Surugiu (CSM Bucuresti)
22. Florin Ionita (CSA Steaua)
23. Florin Vlaicu (CSM Bucuresti)