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Romania’s Welsh coach Lynn Howells has cast a wide net for the Rugby World
Cup by including South African second row Johannes Van Heerden and New Zealand-born
fly-half Michael Wiringi in his 31 man squad.
The southern hemisphere duo are joined in the squad by two other naturalised
Romanians, Georgian hooker Otar Turashvili and Tonga centre Paula Kinikilau.
“It’s the first time that naturalised players have been selected for the
Romania squad at a World Cup,” a spokesperson for the Romanian rugby federation
told AFP on Wednesday.
The list includes a trio of players from France’s Top 14 – Mihaita Lazar (Castres),
Horatiu Pungea and Valentin Ursache (Oyonnax).
These three will face the country where they play their club rugby as Romania
are in Group D alongside France, Ireland, Canada and Italy.
“I hope that this World Cup will go down in the history of Romanian rugby
by winning two matches,” said prop Lazar.
Lazar made his World Cup debut in 2011 when Romania, held 10-10 by English
club side Yorkshire Carnegie in a world Cup prep this month, failed to win any
of their four first round games.
Romania have another warm-up game scheduled against Tonga on September 5 in
Romania World Cup squad
Forwards (17): Paulica Ion (Perpignan/FRA), Mihaita Lazar (Castres/FRA), Andrei
Ursache (Carcassonne/FRA) , Alexandru Tarus (Timisoara Saracens), Horatiu Pungea
(Oyonnax/FRA), Andrei Radoi (Timisoara Saracens), Otar Turashvili (Colomiers/FRA),
Eugen Capatana (Timisoara Saracens), Valentin Popirlan (Timisoara Saracens),
Johannes Van Heerden (Baia Mare), Marius Antonescu (Tarbes/FRA), Valentin Ursache
(Oyonnax/FRA), Mihai Macovei (Colomiers/FRA), Viorel Lucaci (Steaua Bucharest),
Stelian Burcea (Timisoara Saracens), Ovidiu Tonita (Provence Rugby/FRA), Daniel
Carpo (Timisoara Saracens)
Backs: (14): Florin Surugiu (CSM Bucharest), Valentin Calafeteanu (Timisoara
Saracens), Tudorel Bratu (Dinamo Bucharest), Danut Dumbrava (Steaua Bucharest),
Michael Wiringi (Baia Mare), Paula Kinikinilau (Timisoara Saracens), Florin
Vlaicu (CSM Bucharest), Csaba Gal (Cluj), Adrian Apostol (Baia Mare), Ionut
Botezatu (Baia Mare), Florin Ionita (Steaua Bucharest), Madalin Lemnaru (Timisoara
Saracens), Catalin Fercu (Saracens/ENG), Sabin Stratila (Steaua Bucharest).
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