Romanian Rugby

Discussion in 'Tier Two & Three Rugby' started by dragos03, Mar 26, 2014.

  1. dragos03

    dragos03 Senior Member

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    I have decided to start a topic dedicated to Romanian rugby. There is little information about it in English and the rugby media and websites ignore Romania almost completely, with probably the least coverage of any Top 20 nation. While there are some people who remember that the Oaks used to be a global rugby force, few are aware of their present strength. Even fewer know that Romania has a fully professional domestic league that includes many decent foreign players and gets live coverage on public TV stations. The results of the Romanian representative in the Amlin Challenge Cup, who easily beats Italian clubs and sometimes gets prestige wins against Top 14 opponents, have also been usually ignored. I'm gonna try and post weekly/monthly updates on all topics of Romanian rugby in here (with special focus on the domestic league) but I'll first make a few introductory posts. Let's start with:
     
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  3. dragos03

    dragos03 Senior Member

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    The Past

    Romania is one of the oldest European rugby nations, thanks to the strong French influence in the country until the Second World War. The sport was introduced by students in French universities, who tried to initiate others after returning home. The first Romanian rugby player is believed to be Grigore Caracostea, who played for Racing Club de France in 1907.

    [​IMG]
    TCR team in 1913

    The first Romanian club was the rugby section of Tenis Club Roman (TCR), established in 1910. The first rugby match in Romania was played 101 years ago on 8 September 1913 (sadly, the IRB did nothing to mark this event last year, while others got to play against the Barbarians). The match was played on a field in Bucharest on Avenue Bonaparte between the rugby section of Tennis Club Roman (TCR) and Sporting Club and it ended in a 3-3 draw. TCR won the rematch 6-0 on October 13. The first official edition of the Romanian championship took place in 1914, on the future location of the current Arcul de Triumf stadium (still the home of Romanian rugby). TCR won the title by beating Sporting Club (6-3).

    [​IMG]
    The first (even if unofficial) match of the Oaks, 5-48 against France (Stade de Colombes, 22 June 1919)

    In 1919, a Romanian squad competes in the "Interallied victory games" in Paris. The defeat against the USA (0-21) is considered the first official match of the Oaks (for some reason, the 5-48 defeat against France, played some days earlier, is not considered official). Romania would go on to play against France 54 times, more than against any other nation (of those games, France has won 44, with 8 Romanian wins and 2 draws). In the same year, Henry Manu is very close of becoming the first Romanian player to win the French title. He was a starter for Racing Club Paris in the lost final against Stadoceste Tarbais.

    90 years ago, the rugby team won Romania's first ever Olympic medal (bronze at the 1924 Paris Olympics). The image below, from the Romania vs USA match was taken from a zeppelin.

    [​IMG]

    Local rugby will continue to grow until the Second World War, with an increasing number of test matches for the national team and the clubs. After the war, Romania becomes a communist country and the links with Western rugby are cut for a while. The first test after the war is played only in 1951 (against East Germany). From 1953, the tests vs the traditional opponents are restarted (with a match against Italy). The game against France on the old 23 August Stadium in Bucharest in 1957 (France won 18-15) would set up a long standing world record for the highest attendance of a rugby match, there were 95000 spectators.

    Finally, the glory days of the Oaks start in 1960 with the first victory against France, 11-5 on June 5. Romania will have an unbeaten run of 25 tests until 1965. In 1964, Bucharest club Grivita Rosie wins the Champions Cup (an early attempt to create a Heineken Cup), beating French champions Mont de Marsan 10-0 in the final. Many victories will follow for the national team in this Golden age of Romanian rugby (1960-1990), among them 8 wins and 2 draws vs France, 16 wins vs Italy (including a 69-0 one), 2 wins against Wales, 2 against Scotland, etc. Despite the good results, Romania was not allowed to join the 5N for political reasons. The first Romanian player to become a champion of France is Mihai Wusek, winner in 1969 with La Voulte Sportif.

    [​IMG]
    The Oaks against the All Blacks

    Some important matches from the period:
    - Romania vs France 15-0 (1980) - the greatest win against them
    - Romania vs New Zealand 6-14 (1981) - the referee disallowed two Romanian tries in this match. The legend claims that he admitted after the game that he couldn't allow such an upset to happen.
    - Wales vs Romania 9-15 (1988) - a legendary win on Arms Park that caused a major shock in Welsh rugby

    The fall of communism in 1989, followed by massive economic problems, causes the start of a long decline for Romanian rugby. In 1991 the Oaks were still able to win against Scotland but the results keep getting worse in the following years. Due to lack of funds, incompetent administrators and decreasing player numbers, the decline continues until 2009, probably the darkest year of Romanian rugby. That year, the Oaks (without most French-based players, who were fed up with the awful training and travel conditions) finish 4th in the European Nations Cup and qualification for the 2011 RWC looked almost impossible. Romania was about to miss the Rugby World Cup for the first time in its history.
     
  4. dragos03

    dragos03 Senior Member

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    A new era

    Something had to change and it started at the top. Alin Petrache is elected as the new president of the Romanian Rugby Federation, the youngest person to ever hold this position, and he brings new administrators in charge of the departments. His new policy is to invest most resources to strengthen the Romanian domestic league (the Superliga). The conditions at the national team are vastly improved and the French-based players are convinced to return. The results are immediate: the Oaks win the 2010 edition of the European Nations Cup and finish 3rd overall in the two-year standings. After a string of 13 matches without defeat, Romania wins the repechage tournament and gets the last spot at the RWC 2011.

    At the World Cup Romania almost causes a major upset. 10 minutes before the end, the Oaks were leading against Scotland and had them on the ropes after some heavy forward domination. The match is lost in the end due to bad decisions from the head coach, who replaced some of the key players at the wrong time. The World Cup is the last tournament for most of the players in the squad, who retire due to age.

    A new national team had to be built and the main asset is the improving domestic competition. Romania wins the 2012 IRB Nations Cup, an important achievement for the morale of the new team even if it was just a development tournament. Head coach Harry Dumitras is sacked after a heavy defeat against the USA in the November tests and Lynn Howells is named to replace him.

    [​IMG]
    Romanian players celebrating the last minute win against Tonga

    The Welshman decides to bet on the traditional forward strength of the Romanian team and implements a gameplan that is simple yet effective. In the Howells era, the Oaks have only lost 2 out of the last 16 matches, with an increasing dominance (alongside Georgia) in the European Nations Cup and surprising test wins vs higher ranked opponents like Tonga or Canada. Qualification to the 2015 RWC was achieved very easy this time and Romania will have to prove itself in a group with France, Ireland, Italy and Canada.
     
  5. dragos03

    dragos03 Senior Member

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    The Bucharest Wolves

    This is the team that has been representing Romania in the Amlin Challenge Cup. It is not a real club, just a development squad assembled for this purpose with players from all the clubs in the Romanian Superliga. It is not a selection of the best players in the league and player development is its main goal. The coach of the national team also leads the Bucharest Wolves and he uses this team to test new tactics and to see young players in action against good opposition. It's usually a heavy rotated squad, with very little time to train together and without the cohesion of a real club. Even if winning games is not very important for the Bucharest Wolves, they have usually beaten the Italian clubs in the competition with ease and have sometimes won vs Top 14 clubs (Agen, Montauban, Bayonne and even Toulon). This season the Wolves have beaten Calvisano twice (the best Italian team in the Challenge Cup) and managed close results against the Newcastle Falcons (who barely won by 1 point in Bucharest thanks to a last minute penalty) and Brive (who won by 5 points in Bucharest and 11 in Brive).

    The actual champions of Romania would surely be a stronger team than the Bucharest Wolves, but the ERC has refused to allow them to represent Romania for several years in a row, citing travel issues as an excuse. And even if the Wolves are by far the best non-Tier 1 team in the Challenge Cup, it looks like Romania will lose its spot in the competition and be relegated to a new competiton that will mostly include amateur teams.

    The Superliga

    The Superliga is the professional top tier of the Romanian domestic system and probably the best league in Europe after the big three. Significant investments have been made in recent years and the standard has improved every new season, this competition is the main reason for the rebirth of Romanian rugby. All the teams are fully professional and they all include foreign players alongside Romanian ones. 1-2 matches from each round are broadcasted live by the public TV station TVR and the remaining are live streamed online by the Federation. It is supposed to have a total of 8 teams, but only 7 have competed in 2013 and the new season will feature the same 7 clubs. The reason for that is the growing gap in standard between the Superliga and the amateur 2nd Division, it's very hard for promoted teams to be competitive and the last two champions of the second division chose to give up rather than get trashed.

    There have been talks of transforming the Superliga into a regional competition in the future. This year, the Republic of Moldova was invited to create a frachise and compete in the league but they could not find the required funds for it. Serbia (who already has a youth club competing in the Romanian junior leagues) has also been rumored to be interested in entering a Belgrade-based franchise.

    Last season, the Superliga was won by RCM Timisoara who defeated Baia Mare in the final. Steaua Bucharest won the Romanian Cup against the same unlucky Baia Mare. here's one of the tries from the Superliga final:
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  6. dragos03

    dragos03 Senior Member

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    The clubs

    [​IMG]
    Superliga captains ahead of the new season

    RCM Timisoara
    Champions in 2012 and 2013
    http://www.rugby-timisoara.ro/
    Coaches: Danie de Villiers (South Africa), Grainger Heikell (New Zealand)
    Notable players (the caps are for Romania unless specified, I have also included notable former clubs):
    Samuel Maris (prop, 6 caps)
    Alexandru Tarus (prop, 1 cap)
    Eugen Capatana (hooker, 15 caps)
    Valentin Poparlan (lock, 34 caps)
    Andrei Mahu (lock, Moldovan international)
    Stelian Burcea (flanker, 42 caps)
    Vasile Rus (flanker, 13 caps)
    Randall Morrison (flanker, South Africa, ex-Lions, Currie Cup)
    Daniel Carpo (n8, 45 caps)
    Valentin Calafeteanu (scrum half, 62 caps)
    Jody Rose (fly half, South Africa, ex-Emerging Springboks and Lions)
    Sosene Anesi (centre, New Zealand, 1 cap for the All Blacks)
    Paula Kinikinilau (centre, Tonga, ex-Otago, ITM Cup)
    Jack Umaga (centre, New Zealand, ex-Tasman, ITM Cup)
    Madalin Lemnaru (winger, 26 caps)
    Catalin Fercu (fullback, 72 caps)

    Baia Mare
    Finished 2nd in 2013 in both the Superliga and the Romanian Cup
    www.rugbybaiamare.ro
    Coach: Eugen Apjok
    Notable players:
    Constantin Pristavita (prop, 7 caps)
    Silviu Suciu (prop, 1 cap)
    Alex Oancea (hooker, 1 cap)
    Johannes Van Heerden (lock, South Africa, ex-Pumas, Currie Cup)
    Sean Morrell (flanker, 1 cap for Fiji)
    Kuselo Moyake (flanker, South Africa, ex-Eastern Province, Currie Cup)
    Sione Vaiomounga (flanker, 13 caps for Tonga)
    Bizdina Samkharadze (scrum half, 60 caps for Georgia)
    Philip Tuigamala (scrum half, Samoa 7s)
    Michael Wiringi (fly half, New Zealand, capped for Bucharest Wolves)
    Cristian Dinis (centre, 15 caps)
    Csaba Gal (centre, 69 caps)
    Shane Michael Spring (centre, South Africa, ex-Border Bulldogs, Currie Cup)
    Stefan Ciuntu (winger, 34 caps)
    Stephen Hihetah (winger, 3 caps, ex-London Scottish)
    Ionut Botezatu (winger, 17 caps)
    Ionut Niacsu (fullback, 5 caps)

    Steaua Bucharest
    Cup winner in 2013, 3rd in the Superliga
    www.steauarugby.com
    Coach: Marin Mot
    Notable players:
    Madalin Baraulea (prop, 3 caps)
    Igor Orghianu (hooker, Moldovan international)
    Florin Tatu (lock, 12 caps)
    Viorel Lucaci (flanker, 30 caps)
    Daniel Ianus (n8, 12 caps)
    Danut Dumbrava (fly half, 63 caps)
    Robert Dascalu (centre, 41 caps)
    Florin Ionita (centre, 8 caps)
    Ionut Dumitru (winger, 11 caps)
    Mihai Golubenco (fullback, Moldovan international)

    Farul Constanta
    4th in 2013
    www.rugby-farul.ro
    Coach: Neil Kelly (Ireland)
    Notable players:
    Petru Tamba (prop, 3 caps, ex-Cardiff Blues)
    Nicolae Nere (prop, 18 caps)
    Vlad Badalicescu (prop, 4 caps)
    Otar Turashvili (hooker, 8 caps)
    Matthew Taljaard (hooker, South Africa, ex-Border Bulldogs, Currie Cup)
    Cristian Petre (lock, 92 caps, ex-Racing Metro and Brive)
    Cosmin Ratiu (lock, 35 caps)
    Dumani Mtya (lock, South Africa, ex-Western Province)
    Malakai Ravulo (flanker, 23 caps for Fiji, ex-North Harbour, ITM Cup)
    Renaud Van Neel (flanker, 3 caps for Namibia)
    Eseria Vueti (flanker, capped for Fiji A)
    Ciprian Caplescu (scrum half, 11 caps)
    Eugene Jantjies (scrum half, 38 caps for Namibia)
    Dale Sabbagh (fly half, South Africa, ex-Border Bulldogs)
    James Semple (fly half, New Zealand, ex-North Harbour, ITM Cup)
    Ionel Cazan (centre, 15 caps)
    Constantin Gheara (centre, 18 caps)
    Adrian Apostol (winger, 10 caps)
    Florin Vlaicu (fullback, 70 caps)

    CSM Bucuresti
    www.csmbucuresti.ro
    Coach: Paul Healy (Australia)
    Notable players:
    Victor Leon (prop, Moldovan international)
    Catalin Beca (hooker, 6 caps)
    Sam Zlatevski (hooker, ex-Waratahs A and Australia U19)
    William Tooala (lock, Australia, ex-Penrith)
    Alexandru Mitu (flanker, 8 caps)
    Nathan Paila (n8, Australia, ex-Melbourne Storm NRL)
    Florin Surugiu (scrum half, 41 caps)
    Jack Cobden (fly half, ex-Leicester Tigers, Nottingham and England U20)
    Andrei Filip (fly half, 2 caps)
    Lasarusa Tabu (centre, Fiji U20)
    Johnny Sola (centre, New Zealand)

    Universitatea Cluj
    www.u-rugby.ro
    Coach: Bogdan Cantor
    Notable players:
    Romulus Boar (prop, 3 caps)
    Razvan Ailenei (flanker, capped for Bucharest Wolves)
    Cristian Podea (scrum half, 9 caps)
    Ionut Dimofte (fly half, 65 caps)
    McGrath Van Wyk (winger, 9 caps for Namibia)
    Ange Rocchesani (fullback, France, ex-RC Vannes)

    Dinamo Bucharest
    www.csdinamo.ro
    Coach: Stefan Demici
    Notable players:
    Mihai Adascalitei (prop, 8 caps)
    Flavius Dobre (prop, 11 caps)
    Ruslan Dorogan (hooker, Moldovan international)
    Andrei Bucurescu (lock, capped for Bucharest Wolves)
    Roman Rotundu (flanker, Moldovan international)
    Adrian Barbuliceanu (centre, 7 caps)
    Ion Cavcaliuc (centre, Moldovan international)
    Andrei Cebotari (winger, Moldovan international)
     
  7. Croket66

    Croket66 Senior Member

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    Great topic dragos, congratulations!

    You can also write that Rugby U Cluj plays his home games in the 5* Cluj Arena
    [​IMG][​IMG]


    I'm trying to regroup Super Liga squads
    If you see errors...
    (PS : About Baia Mare, I read that Tuigamala left)


    [TABLE="width: 962"]
    [TR]
    [TD]RCM Timisoara[/TD]
    [TD]CSM Baia Mare[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD][​IMG][/TD]
    [TD][​IMG][/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD]Steaua Bucuresti[/TD]
    [TD]Farul Constanta[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD][​IMG][/TD]
    [TD][​IMG][/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD]CSM Bucuresti[/TD]
    [TD]U Cluj[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD][​IMG]
    [/TD]
    [TD][​IMG][/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD] Dinamo Bucuresti[/TD]
    [TD][/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD][​IMG][/TD]
    [TD][/TD]
    [/TR]
    [/TABLE]
     
    Last edited: May 30, 2014
  8. dragos03

    dragos03 Senior Member

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    Congratulations for your deep knowledge about Romanian rugby (and rugby in general), I am always impressed by it.

    I don't see any mistakes in your lists. Not sure if Tuigamala left Baia Mare (he is still listed on their website). I think NZ centre Jeremy Cave is also still under contract with them but not sure when he will be able to play again due to his long-term injury.

    Marian Sabau (Timisoara) is born in 1987 btw.
     
  9. Croket66

    Croket66 Senior Member

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    Thanks :)

    About Tuigamala and Cave, from Baia Mare fanpage (facebook)
     
  10. dragos03

    dragos03 Senior Member

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    Thanks, I somehow missed that information. Sad to hear that about Cave, he was a decent player. As for Tuigamala, I wonder if Baia Mare will recall the young Cubas from his loan at Dinamo in order to have two dedicated scrum halves in the squad.

    Mihai Rosca also retired from rugby btw, I think it was also because of a serious injury.
     
  11. ImScotty

    ImScotty Senior Member

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    great topic lads, glad to finally get some information about romanian rugby :)
     
  12. Jayatron

    Jayatron Senior Member

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    Really really interesting. Fantastic to read and really hope you keep it up. The domestic stuff was brilliant.
     
  13. dragos03

    dragos03 Senior Member

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    The new domestic season kicks off this weekend with the following games:
    Farul Constanta vs CSM Bucuresti (March 29, 11:00 local time and 9:00 GMT, live on TVR 2 and http://www.rugbytv.ro)
    Baia Mare vs Dinamo (March 29, 15:00 local time and 13:00 GMT, live on http://www.rugbytv.ro)
    Steaua vs U Cluj (March 30, 11:00 local time and 9:00 GMT, live on http://www.rugbytv.ro)
     
  14. goodNumber10

    goodNumber10 Senior Member

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    this was a superb read, thanks for posting it.

    I played in a vets tournament 4-5 years ago, and there was a team from Romania. some of the players in it played in the 1990 win over France (sorry don't know their names).
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2014
  15. dragos03

    dragos03 Senior Member

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    First round Romanian Superliga results:

    Farul Constanta - CSM Bucuresti 29-22 (10-10)
    Tries: Constantin Gheara, Eseria Vueti (2), Malakai Ravulo/Johnny Sola, Nathan Paila, penalty try
    Conversions: Florin Vlaicu (3)/Andrei Filip, Alex Neaga
    Penalties: Florin Vlaicu/Andrei Filip
    Red card: Johnny Sola

    The full match between Farul and CSM can be watched here:


    Baia Mare - Dinamo 49-3 (21-0)
    Tries: Sean Morrell, Kuselo Moyake, Stefan Ciuntu, Michael Spring, Michael Wiringi (2), Alexandru Oancea
    Conversions: Luke Samoa (7)
    Penalties: -/Teodor Nitu

    Steaua - U Cluj 34-7 (29-0)

    Tries: Ionut Dumitru (3), Alex Grigore, Andrei Pascu/Razvan Ailenei
    Conversions: Danut Dumbrava (3)/Nicu Ignea
    Penalties: Danut Dumbrava/-
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  16. dragos03

    dragos03 Senior Member

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    The details of the next edition of the IRB Nations Cup, to be played in June in Bucharest, have been announced:
    http://www.irb.com/nationscup/news/newsid=2070900.html#nations+cup+central+rwc+2015+preparations

    Four teams will take part: Romania, Ireland A, Russia and Uruguay, with matches on June 13, 18 and 22.

    It is very strange that the IRB has sent Russia and Uruguay to the same tournament in June since these teams will probably meet later in the repechage for the last spot at the 2015 RWC.
     
  17. djwizard84

    djwizard84 Senior Member

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    well, so if Russia and Uruguay win their own Q games. They will play 3 times in less than 6 months time. good way to read each other!
     
  18. dragos03

    dragos03 Senior Member

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    A century ago, in March 1914, the rugby section of Tennis Club Roman (TCR) won the first edition of the Romanian league.
    Here's a picture of the 1914 champions:

    [​IMG]

    The second round of the Superliga will be played this weekend and it includes the derby Timisoara vs Baia Mare. This is also the first time when two matches from one round will be broadcasted live on TV:
    RCM Timisoara vs Baia Mare (April 5, 11:00 local time/8:00 GMT, live on TVR 2 and http://www.rugbytv.ro)
    Probable teams: http://www.super-liga.ro/informatii-meci/?im=2077

    U Cluj vs Farul Constanta (April 5, 17:00 local/12:00 GMT, live on TVR Cluj and www.rugbytv.ro)
    Official stream here: http://www.tvrplus.ro/live-tvr-cluj
    Probable teams: http://www.super-liga.ro/informatii-meci/?im=2079

    Dinamo vs Steaua (April 6, 11:00 local time/8:00 GMT, live on http://www.rugbytv.ro)
    Probable teams: http://www.super-liga.ro/informatii-meci/?im=2081

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  19. dragos03

    dragos03 Senior Member

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    Highlights of the first round of the Romanian league:

     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  20. dragos03

    dragos03 Senior Member

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    Romanian Superliga Round 2 highlights:


    RCM Timisoara - Baia Mare 13-19 (3-9)
    Tries: Tangimana Fonovai, Paula Kinikinilau/Luke Samoa
    Conversions: -/Luke Samoa(4)
    Penalties: Valentin Calafeteanu/Luke Samoa
    Man of the match: Luke Samoa (Baia Mare)

    U Cluj - Farul Constanta 7-9 (0-6)

    Tries: Ionut Dimofte/-
    Conversions: Ionut Dimofte/-
    Penalties: -/Florin Vlaicu (3)
    Man of the match: Ionut Dimofte (U Cluj)

    Dinamo - Steaua 6-24 (0-6)
    Tries: -/Robert Dascalu (2), Daniel Ianus, Ionut Dumitru
    Conversions: -/Danut Dumbrava (2)
    Penalties: Teodor Nitu (2)/-
    Man of the match: Daniel Ianus (Steaua)

    In other news, Steaua has signed three Tongan players:
    - hooker Sakalia „Sefu” Sosefo (10 caps for Tonga U20) http://www.steauarugby.com/ro/players/61/
    - back row Nau Sione Viliami Tupoulahi, http://www.steauarugby.com/ro/players/62/
    - scrum half Alovili „Vili” Kihe Lotu Ahofono (capped for Tonga A, Tonga 7s and Tonga U20), http://www.steauarugby.com/ro/players/63/

    Champions RCM Timisoara will play their next home match (against Farul Constanta on April 17) on the main football stadium in the city, with a capacity of 33.000 seats (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stadionul_Dan_Paltinisanu). Their current stadium is really small (around 1500 seats) and was cramped with 2500 fans for the match against Baia Mare.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  21. djwizard84

    djwizard84 Senior Member

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    sounds like it could be a permanent move. more fans sounds great!!!
     
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