Romania national rugby union team

The Romania national rugby union team (Romanian: Echipa națională de rugby a României) represents Romania in men's international rugby union competitions. Nicknamed Stejarii (The Oaks), the team is long considered one of the stronger European teams outside the Six Nations. They have participated in all but one Rugby World Cup and currently compete in the first division of the European Nations Cup, which they won in 2017. Rugby union in Romania is administered by the Romanian Rugby Federation.

Romania
Shirt badge/Association crest
Nickname(s)Stejarii (The Oaks)
EmblemOak leaf
UnionRomanian Rugby Federation
Head coachDavid Gérard
CaptainCristi Chirică
Most capsFlorin Vlaicu (129)
Top scorerFlorin Vlaicu (1,030)
Top try scorerCătălin Fercu (33)
Home stadiumTriumphal Arch Stadium
First colours
Second colours
World Rugby ranking
Current19 (as of 20 March 2023)
Highest13 (2003, 2004, 2005, 2006)
Lowest20 (2019, 2022)
First international
 United States 23–0 Romania 
(Paris, France; 26 June 1919)
All military sides
Biggest win
 Bulgaria 0–100 Romania 
(Burgas, Bulgaria; 21 September 1976)
Biggest defeat
 England 134–0 Romania 
(London, England; 17 November 2001)
World Cup
Appearances9 (First in 1987)
Best resultPool stage (1987, 1991, 1995, 1999, 2003, 2007, 2011, 2015, 2023)
Medal record
Websiterugbyromania.ro

France first played rugby against Romania in 1924 when they tried to establish a rival to the Five Nations championship. Romania holds with 25 matches the record for the longest unbeaten run.[1] Although not regarded as a first-tier team in more recent times, their history includes an away draw against Ireland, and wins against four (France, Italy, Scotland, Wales) of the other Six Nations Championship teams.[2]

Romania played in every Rugby World Cup through to 2015, but were disqualified from the 2019 Rugby World Cup after fielding an ineligible player during the qualification process.[3] In the 2023 Rugby World Cup which saw the teams return to the tournament, Romania was in Pool B and finished bottom; losing all of their matches.

History edit

Early history edit

 
Romania at the 1924 Summer Olympics in Paris, France

The game itself was introduced by students returning with rugby balls from their studies in Paris to form clubs such as Stadiul Roman from 1913 onwards. Seventeen other teams would be formed in the capital, Bucharest.

Romania's first international was played against the US in 1919. France first officially played rugby union against Romania in May 1924 when they tried to establish a rival to the Five Nations Championship (now the Six Nations). France were victorious by 59 points to 3.

Romania were one of three teams who entered the 1924 Olympics in Paris. France won 59–3, scoring 13 tries including four by the fine Stade Francais winger Adolphe Jaureguy. The United States then defeated Romania 39–0. Romania finishing third claimed the bronze medal. The Federaţia Română de Rugby was formed in 1931. In 1939 a team was formed in Braşov at an aircraft factory. This was the first team outside Bucharest.

Post-World War II edit

 
Viorel Morariu (right) captained Romania in the 1950s and early 1960s
 
Alex Penciu, one of Romania's greatest players in the 1960s.
 
The Oaks starting lineup that beat France 15–0 in November 1980.
 
The Oaks before a test match against Wales in 1983.

A generation of French school trained coaches[citation needed] from late 1940s, and 1950s built a system and led the national team to success of the 1960s, 1970s and early 1980s. In this era Romania began to compete more regularly against the major nations. Their first win over France came in 1960 in Bucharest, in a tour match won by 11–5. In 1974 Romania won against France 15–10 in Bucharest,[4] and the FIRA – Association of European Rugby championship.[5] In 1975 Romania went for an 8-game tour to New Zealand, concluding in Wellington with a 10–10 draw against the Junior All Blacks. Exposure to international rugby developed the country's game and they began to form their own distinctive style of play, built around strong, bruising packs. That Romania was emerging as a real force on the world stage became clear on their 1979 Romania rugby union tour of Wales at Cardiff Arms Park, in an unofficial, non-cap international. The Oaks led going into the dying minutes, when only a last-gasp drop goal from Gareth Davies gave a narrow 13–12 victory for Wales. The improvement continued in 1980, when Romania crushed the French in a record 15–0 win in Bucharest. A trip to Lansdowne Road in the 1980 Romania rugby union tour of Ireland then yielded a 13–13 draw against Ireland in another unofficial, non-cap match.

In the 1980s the country boasted more than 12,000 players in 110 clubs. Home nations sides began to award international caps for matches against Romania in 1981; Scotland were the first to do so when Romania visited them on their 1981 tour, Scotland winning the international by 12 points to 6.[6] Wales travelled to Bucharest in November 1983 and were totally overwhelmed, falling to a 24–6 defeat. Romania's first win over Scotland came in Bucharest in 1984 and their first away win against Five Nations opposition came in 1988 against Wales; 15–9 at Cardiff Arms Park.

Their national side beat Wales (twice – 1983: 24–6 in Romania, 1988: 15–9 in Wales), Scotland (the 1984 Grand Slam side 28–22 in Romania), France (twice 1980: 15–0 in Romania, 1982: 13–9 in Romania) and drew with Ireland (13–13, in 1980, at Dublin). In 1981, they lost to the All Blacks 14–6 but had two tries disallowed. Many felt it was wrong for the rugby union powers to fail to bring them into top-flight competition. Romania beat Zimbabwe 21–20 in their first ever Rugby World Cup match in 1987 but did not win any other games and failed to progress beyond the group stage.

After the collapse of Communism edit

However, with the deterioration of the domestic political and economic situation in the country in the 1990s, Romanian rugby union suffered; the two leading rugby union teams – Dinamo Bucharest and Steaua Bucharest, represented the police and the army respectively, so their state funding fell.[citation needed]

Post-revolution, Romanian rugby union was still alive and kicking. In 1990 they recorded a prestigious win to date by beating France 12–6 on French soil for the first time. The following year they beat Scotland 18–12. At the 1991 World Cup they beat Fiji 17–15 and as recently as the 1995 World Cup, Romania held the eventual winners South Africa to a highly respectable 21–8.

The professionalism that followed immediately upon the heels of that World Cup was the undoing of the sport in Romania. Approximately 200 Romanian players are thought to be playing in France and Italy. It was not just playing numbers that suffered, but a whole generation of potential referees and administrators was lost to the game. By 1994 Romania's rugby fortunes had declined sharply, when a Welsh team travelled to Bucharest for an uncapped international the visitors came away with a 16–9 win. In 1997 the Romanians toured Wales. They lost 36–21 to Wales A at Pontypridd and 70–21 in a test held in Wrexham. At the 1999 World Cup Romania could again only manage a single win 27–25 against the United States.

The new millennium edit

 
Romania plays its home games at the Stadionul Arcul de Triumf in Bucharest.
 
Romania playing Ireland at Lansdowne Road in 2005.

In 2000, Romania won the first European Nations Cup by a large margin, recording victories in all four matches. By 2001, Romania had been caught by the likes of Georgia who defeated them to take the 2001 European Nations Cup, crowned with a decisive 31–20 win over Romania in Bucharest. The national side lost to England by 134–0 in 2001 and Dinamo Bucharest lost 151–0 to Saracens in the European Rugby Shield. Several French-based players refused to turn up for the England debacle simply because their clubs refused to pay them for the week. Players in that Romanian squad were getting £30 a day in expenses while England's top earners scooped £6,000 for their afternoon's work.[citation needed]

In January 2002, Bernard Charreyre was appointed coach of the national team both supplied by and paid by the French Rugby Federation (FFR). Under Charreyre (known by The Oaks as 'Little Napoleon'), the Oaks' decline has been stopped and the team has started to slowly climb from the basement of international rugby union. With a change of format in the European Nations Cup, Romania started in 2002 trailing Georgia due to the inclusion of 2001 results. The Oaks won all of the remaining five games, including a hard-fought 31–23 victory in Tbilisi to win the tournament. They qualified for the World Cup in 2003, where they beat Namibia and lost to Ireland (45–17), after an honourable display, and then to Australia (90–8) and Argentina (50–3). Charreyre was dismissed after the World Cup as the Romanian Federation was not satisfied by the World Cup performance and decided not to renew his contract. Three other French coaches followed: first, Phillipe Sauton, for a very short period, Robert Antonin as a temporary stand-in and then Daniel Santamans.

In the 2003–2004 European Nations Cup, Portugal were surprise 16–15 winners over Romania in Lisbon and installed themselves on the top of the 2003 table. In the second half of the competition, Romania seemed back on track (36–6 against Portugal in Constanţa), but went down 24–33 to Russia in Krasnodar following allegations of players having been doped. Then Portugal clinched their first title with a last-minute 19–18 win over Russia in Lisbon. In 2004, the Romanians scored a narrow 25–24 victory over Italy, their first victory to date over a Six Nations Championship side.

In 2005 Romania was given 'second tier' status by the IRB and replaced Russia in the Super Powers Cup. The USA beat a Romanian team stripped of their France-based players 23–16 in the third place play-off. The 2005–06 European Nations Cup also served as a qualifying group for the 2007 Rugby World Cup. Romania triumphed despite finishing level on points with Georgia.

Romania qualified for the 2007 Rugby World Cup in France, finishing at the top of their pool during the Round 5 of the European qualifying tournaments. Romania won their first qualifying match on 7 October, defeating Georgia in Bucharest 20–8. Their 43–20 win over Spain in Madrid on 14 October ensured that they qualified directly for the World Cup in 2007. In June 2007, Romania hosted the IRB Nations Cup in Bucuresti.[7] In the 2007 Rugby World Cup finals, Romania won a bonus point in the 18–24 loss to Italy and to win a second game with Portugal by a narrow margin (14–10), but suffered heavy losses to Scotland (42–0) and New Zealand (85–8).

On 21 March 2009, Romania lost 22–21 at home to Portugal, leaving them with an uphill struggle to qualify for the 2011 World Cup – qualification for which is determined by performances in the European Nations Cup in 2009 and 2010. Romania went unbeaten, with a draw at Russia, in the 2010 phase of the European Nations Cup. The Oaks' strong finish put them in third place and the final phase of the European qualification playoffs, in which they easily defeated Ukraine over two legs (94–10 on aggregate) for the European place in the Final Place Playoff for the 2011 Rugby World Cup. Romania emerged as the last qualifier for the 2011 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand by overcoming first Tunisia in a winner-takes-it-all game (56–13) and later Uruguay (60–33 on aggregate). Thus, the Oaks are one of only 12 teams to participate at all World Cups alongside New Zealand, Australia, England, France, Wales, Ireland, Scotland, Italy, Argentina, Canada, and Japan.

In November 2016, Romania achieved home soil wins against the US, Canada and Uruguay.[8]

In 2018, Romania finished top of the Rugby Europe Championship, meaning they qualified for the 2019 Rugby World Cup to be played in Japan in 2019. But after the conclusion of the tournament World Rugby conducted a review of player eligibility and found Romania fielded Sione Faka'osilea, who previously played for the Tonga Sevens team, which made him ineligible to play for Romania in the competition. Romania was stripped of 30 competition points, which placed them third and meant that they failed to qualify for the 2019 Rugby World Cup, with Russia taking their place.[9]

On 29 May 2018, it was confirmed that Romania had appealed the decision.[10] On 6 June, the appeal failed and the decision was upheld, meaning Russia was confirmed as Europe 1 and qualified for the World Cup, whilst Germany advanced to round 6.[11]

Honours edit

Record edit

Romania holds the record for the longest unbeaten run: 25 matches in between May 1959 and November 1964.[1]

Wins against Tier 1 nations edit

Date Home Score Away Venue Status
14 April 1940 Romania   3–0   Italy   Dinamo Stadium, Bucharest Test Match
5 June 1960[12] Romania   11–5   France   Dinamo Stadium, Bucharest Test Match
10 June 1962 Romania   14–6   Italy   Dinamo Stadium, Bucharest Test Match
11 November 1962 Romania   3–0   France   Dinamo Stadium, Bucharest Test Match
14 May 1967 Romania   15–14   Italy   Dinamo Stadium, Bucharest 1966–67 FIRA Nations Cup
1 December 1968 Romania   24–3   France   Dinamo Stadium, Bucharest 1968–69 FIRA Nations Cup
25 October 1970 Italy   3–14   Romania   Stadio Comunale Mario Battaglini, Rovigo 1969–70 FIRA Nations Cup
11 April 1971 Romania   32–6   Italy   Dinamo Stadium, Bucharest 1970–71 FIRA Nations Cup
13 October 1974 Romania   15–10   France   Dinamo Stadium, Bucharest 1974–75 FIRA Trophy
14 November 1976 Romania   15–12   France   Dinamo Stadium, Bucharest 1976–77 FIRA Trophy
1 May 1977 Romania   69–0   Italy   Dinamo Stadium, Bucharest 1976–77 FIRA Trophy
22 April 1979 Romania   44–0   Italy   Dinamo Stadium, Bucharest 1978–79 FIRA Trophy
23 November 1980 Romania   15–0   France   Dinamo Stadium, Bucharest 1980–81 FIRA Trophy
12 April 1981 Romania   35–9   Italy   Brăila 1980–81 FIRA Trophy
31 October 1982 Romania   13–9   France   Dinamo Stadium, Bucharest 1982–83 FIRA Trophy
10 April 1983 Romania   13–6   Italy   Buzău 1982–83 FIRA Trophy
12 November 1983 Romania   24–6   Wales   Dinamo Stadium, Bucharest Test Match
20 May 1984 Romania   28-22   Scotland   Dinamo Stadium, Bucharest Test Match
14 April 1985 Romania   7–6   Italy   Brașov 1984–85 FIRA Trophy
12 April 1987 Romania   9–3   Italy   Constanța 1985–87 FIRA Trophy
2 April 1988 Italy   3–12   Romania   San Siro, Milan 1987–89 FIRA Trophy
10 December 1988 Wales   9–15   Romania   Cardiff Arms Park, Cardiff Test Match
15 April 1989 Romania   28–4   Italy   Dinamo Stadium, Bucharest 1987–89 FIRA Trophy
14 April 1990 Italy   9–16   Romania   Frascati 1989–90 FIRA Trophy
24 May 1990 France   9–12   Romania   Stade du Moulias, Auch 1989–90 FIRA Trophy
31 August 1991 Romania   18–12   Scotland   Dinamo Stadium, Bucharest Test Match
14 May 1994 Romania   26–12   Italy   Dinamo Stadium, Bucharest 1992–94 FIRA Trophy
26 June 2004 Romania   25–24   Italy   Dinamo Stadium, Bucharest Test Match

European competitions edit

Romania's only annual tournament is a competition involving Europe's tier 2 and tier 3 national teams. From 1936 through 1938, they competed in the FIRA Tournament against France, Germany and Italy. In 1965 until 1973 the FIRA Nations Cup was formed allowing other teams to be promoted or relegated from the competition. Romania won the competition once in 1969, being the only team to defeat France.

Pre–WWII Tournament (1936–1938)
Nation Games Points Table
points
Champs
played won drawn lost for against diff
  France 6 6 0 0 133 48 +85 3
  Germany 6 3 0 3 83 92 −9 0
  Italy 5 3 0 2 75 76 −1 0
  Romania 7 1 0 6 81 114 −33 0
  Belgium 2 1 0 1 20 48 −28 0
  Netherlands 2 0 0 2 8 62 −54 0
FIRA Nations Cup (1965–1973)
Nation Games Points Table
points
Champs
played won drawn lost for against diff
  France 26 25 0 1 824 198 +626 65 7
  Romania 26 17 1 8 528 222 +306 51 1
  Czechoslovakia 17 2 2 13 135 411 −267 16 0
  Morocco 9 2 0 7 65 332 −267 13 0
  Italy 13 4 1 8 86 227 −141 12 0
  West Germany 10 1 1 8 81 132 −51 6 0
  Spain 3 1 0 2 56 55 +1 5 0
  Poland 3 0 0 3 19 132 −113 3 0
  Portugal 3 0 0 3 23 108 −85 0 0

European Nations Cup (2000–present) edit

Winners edit

Year First Division Lower Division Champions
Winner Second Third Relegated Division 2 Division 3
2000   Romania   Georgia   Morocco   Russia   Czech Republic
2001   Georgia   Romania   Russia   Poland Not played[13]
2001–2002   Romania   Georgia   Russia   Netherlands   Czech Republic[14]   Slovenia
2003–2004   Portugal   Romania   Georgia   Spain   Ukraine   Moldova
2004–2006   Romania   Georgia   Portugal   Ukraine   Spain   Latvia
2006–2008   Georgia   Russia   Romania   Czech Republic   Germany   Sweden
2008–2010   Georgia   Russia   Portugal   Germany [15]   Ukraine   Lithuania
2010   Romania   Georgia   Russia
2011   Georgia   Romania   Portugal   Ukraine [15]   Belgium   Sweden
2012   Georgia   Spain   Romania
2013   Georgia   Romania   Russia   Belgium [15]   Germany   Netherlands
2014   Georgia   Romania   Russia
2015   Georgia   Romania   Spain   Portugal   Belgium   Estonia
2016   Georgia   Romania   Russia
2017   Romania   Georgia   Spain   Portugal   Czech Republic /   Malta
2018   Georgia   Russia   Germany
2019   Georgia   Spain   Romania   Germany
2020   Georgia   Spain   Romania   Belgium   Netherlands
2021   Georgia   Romania   Portugal
2022   Georgia   Romania   Spain   Russia   Belgium   Sweden /
  Croatia
2023   Georgia   Portugal   Romania

All-time table edit

Pld W D L PF PA PD AVPPG Pts Champs
  Georgia 100 83 4 13 3096 1151 +1945 30.96 334 11
  Romania 100 72 2 26 3024 1311 +1713 30.24 288 5
  Russia 85 47 3 34 2190 1788 +402 26.07 186 0
  Portugal 85 35 3 47 1605 1865 −260 18.88 152 1
  Spain 80 25 4 51 1575 2020 −445 19.69 145 0
  Czech Republic 29 6 0 23 362 1075 −713 12.48 40 0
  Germany 25 3 1 21 341 1064 −723 13.64 26 0
  Netherlands 15 1 0 14 278 652 −374 18.53 17 0
  Ukraine 20 1 0 19 201 998 −797 10.05 15 0
  Morocco 5 3 0 2 94 69 +25 18.80 11 0
  Belgium 20 2 1 17 204 412 −208 13.6 8 0

Rivalries edit

Romania and Georgia have enjoyed a rivalry between the two most successful teams in the European Nations Cup. The winner of the rivalry takes home the Antim Cup.

Rugby World Cup edit

Romania had competed in every Rugby World Cup since the inaugural tournament in 1987; that streak ended in 2018, when they were expelled from the 2019 tournament via points deduction for fielding ineligible players. Their best finish was with one win in 1987, 1991, 1999, 2003, 2007 and 2015. They lost all pool matches in 1995, 2011 and 2023.

World Cup record World Cup Qualification record
Year Round P W D L F A P W D L F A
   1987 Pool stage 3 1 0 2 61 130 -
    1991 Pool stage 3 1 0 2 31 64 3 2 0 1 85 42
  1995 Pool stage 3 0 0 3 14 97 4 2 0 2 105 46
  1999 Pool stage 3 1 0 2 50 126 6 4 0 2 300 127
  2003 Pool stage 4 1 0 3 65 192 2 1 0 1 84 31
  2007 Pool stage 4 1 0 3 40 161 12 10 0 2 452 122
  2011 Pool stage 4 0 0 4 44 169 12 8 1 3 376 142
  2015 Pool stage 4 1 0 3 60 129 10 8 1 1 242 106
  2019 Expelled after qualification 8 6 0 2 296 106
  2023 Pool stage 4 0 0 4 32 287 10 6 0 4 289 232
Total 9/10 32 6 0 26 397 1,355 67 47 2 18 2229 954

Overall edit

Top 20 as of 5 February 2024[16]
Rank Change* Team Points
1     South Africa 094.54
2     Ireland 092.11
3     New Zealand 089.80
4     France 086.28
5     England 085.80
6     Scotland 084.45
7     Argentina 080.68
8     Wales 079.62
9     Australia 077.48
10     Fiji 076.38
11     Italy 075.58
12     Japan 074.27
13  1   Georgia 072.68
14  1   Samoa 072.23
15  1   Tonga 071.57
16  3   Portugal 070.78
17     United States 067.94
18     Uruguay 067.39
19  1   Spain 063.46
20  1   Romania 063.40
21     Canada 060.90
22     Namibia 060.56
23     Chile 060.49
24     Hong Kong 059.80
25     Russia 058.06
26  3   Belgium 056.58
27  1    Switzerland 056.29
28     Brazil 055.37
27  2   Netherlands 055.24
30     South Korea 053.46
* Change from the previous week
Romania's historical rankings
See or edit source data.
Source: World Rugby[16]
Graph updated to 25 December 2023

Below is a table of the representative rugby matches played by a Romania national XV at test level up until 17 February 2024.[17]

Opponent Played Won Lost Drawn Win % For Aga Diff
  Argentina 9 0 9 0 0.00% 114 341 −227
  Argentina XV 5 4 1 0 80.00% 113 74 +39
  Australia 3 0 3 0 0.00% 20 189 −169
  Belgium 9 9 0 0 100.00% 447 104 +343
  Brazil 2 2 0 0 100.00% 78 26 +52
  Bulgaria 2 2 0 0 100.00% 170 3 +167
  Canada 8 6 2 0 75.00% 138 142 −4
  Chile 2 2 0 0 100.0% 57 34 +23
  Czech Republic 6 6 0 0 100.00% 307 53 +254
  Czechoslovakia 18 17 0 1 94.44% 349 105 +244
  East Germany 13 12 0 1 92.31% 393 69 +324
  England 5 0 5 0 0.0% 24 335 −311
  Fiji 3 1 2 0 33.33% 42 70 −28
  France 50 8 40 2 16% 462 1315 −853
  France A 1 0 1 0 0.00% 16 20 −4
  France XV 5 0 5 0 0.00% 30 153 −123
  Georgia 28 9 18 1 32.14% 447 617 −170
  Germany 11 6 5 0 54.55% 367 158 +209
  Ireland 10 0 10 0 0.00% 110 472 −362
  Ireland XV 1 0 0 1 0.90% 13 13 +0
  Emerging Ireland 1 0 1 0 0.00% 10 31 −21
  Italy 44 16 25 3 36.36% 654 711 −57
  Italy A 4 2 2 0 50.00% 65 87 −22
  Emerging Italy 2 2 0 0 100.00% 43 26 +17
  Japan 6 1 5 0 16.67% 119 152 −33
  Japan XV 1 1 0 0 100.00% 30 25 +5
  Morocco 8 7 1 0 87.5% 342 56 +286
  Namibia 6 5 1 0 83.33% 158 66 +92
  Netherlands 9 9 0 0 100.00% 390 73 +317
  New Zealand 2 0 2 0 0.00% 14 99 −85
  New Zealand XV 1 0 1 0 0.00% 30 60 −30
  Junior All Blacks 1 0 0 1 0.00% 10 10 +0
  Poland 18 16 2 0 88.89% 601 178 +423
  Portugal 29 24 5 0 82.76% 884 400 +484
  Russia 24 16 7 1 66.67% 580 347 +233
  Samoa 3 2 1 0 66.67% 49 59 −10
  Scotland 14 2 12 0 15.38% 192 559 −367
  Scotland A 1 0 1 0 0.00% 18 21 −3
  South Africa 2 0 2 0 0.00% 8 97 −89
  Emerging Springboks 2 0 2 0 0.00% 20 86 −66
  Soviet Union 15 12 3 0 80% 251 153 +98
  Spain 39 35 4 0 89.74% 1115 442 +673
  Tonga 5 2 3 0 40% 111 129 −18
  Tunisia 5 4 1 0 80.00% 189 42 +147
  Ukraine 7 7 0 0 100.00% 400 43 +357
  United States 9 2 7 0 22.22% 121 240 −119
  Uruguay 13 10 2 1 76.92% 354 188 +166
  Wales 8 2 6 0 25.0% 96 342 −246
  Wales XV 1 0 1 0 0.00% 12 13 −1
  West Germany 9 8 1 0 88.89% 199 69 +130
  Zimbabwe 4 4 0 0 100.00% 123 84 +39
Total 484 273 199 12 56.4% 10,885 9181 +1704

Players edit

Current squad edit

Romania announced their 33-player squad on 16 August 2023.[18]

On 28 August 2023, Mihai Macovei, Mihai Mureșan and Paul Popoaia were ruled out of the World Cup, after sustaining various injuries. They were replaced in the Romania squad by André Gorin, Sioeli Lama and Taliaʻuli Sikuea.[19]

Head Coach:   Eugen Apjok

  • Caps Updated: 9 September 2023
Player Position Date of birth (age) Caps Club/province
Florin Bărdașu Hooker (1991-09-23) 23 September 1991 (age 32) 12   Steaua București
Ovidiu Cojocaru Hooker (1996-11-19) 19 November 1996 (age 27) 32   Dinamo București
Robert Irimescu Hooker (1996-03-01) 1 March 1996 (age 28) 4   Știința Baia Mare
Costel Burțilă Prop (1991-07-14) 14 July 1991 (age 32) 13   Hyères Carqueiranne
Thomas Crețu Prop (2002-03-05) 5 March 2002 (age 21) 5   Aurillac
Gheorghe Gajion Prop (1992-11-13) 13 November 1992 (age 31) 9   Mont-de-Marsan
Alexandru Gordaș Prop (1994-05-11) 11 May 1994 (age 29) 35   Dinamo București
Iulian Harțig Prop (1998-10-11) 11 October 1998 (age 25) 9   Bassin d'Arcachon
Alexandru Savin Prop (1995-02-12) 12 February 1995 (age 29) 25   Steaua București
Ștefan Iancu Lock (1998-07-01) 1 July 1998 (age 25) 5   Știința Baia Mare
Marius Iftimiciuc Lock (1997-08-13) 13 August 1997 (age 26) 22   Carcassonne
Adrian Moțoc Lock (1996-07-11) 11 July 1996 (age 27) 27   Biarritz
Cristi Boboc Back row (1995-10-09) 9 October 1995 (age 28) 9   Steaua București
Cristi Chirică (c) Back row (1997-04-09) 9 April 1997 (age 26) 34   Dinamo București
André Gorin Back row (1987-11-30) 30 November 1987 (age 36) 44   Hyères Carqueiranne
Vlad Neculau Back row (1998-01-07) 7 January 1998 (age 26) 14   Timișoara
Florian Roșu Back row (1993-04-20) 20 April 1993 (age 30) 13   Știința Baia Mare
Dragoș Ser Back row (1999-03-04) 4 March 1999 (age 24) 15   Steaua București
Damian Strătilă Back row (1996-07-28) 28 July 1996 (age 27) 6   Steaua București
Alin Conache Scrum-half (2002-05-07) 7 May 2002 (age 21) 5   Timișoara
Gabriel Rupanu Scrum-half (1997-09-28) 28 September 1997 (age 26) 21   Timișoara
Florin Surugiu Scrum-half (1984-12-10) 10 December 1984 (age 39) 103   Steaua București
Tudor Boldor Fly-half (1997-11-29) 29 November 1997 (age 26) 16   Dinamo București
Gabriel Pop Fly-half (1998-03-29) 29 March 1998 (age 25) 5   Dinamo București
Taylor Gontineac Centre (2000-07-16) 16 July 2000 (age 23) 10   Rouen
Tevita Manumua Centre (1993-02-12) 12 February 1993 (age 31) 2   Timișoara
Taliaʻuli Sikuea Centre (1995-07-14) 14 July 1995 (age 28) 1   Știința Baia Mare
Jason Tomane Centre (1995-03-04) 4 March 1995 (age 28) 14   Știința Baia Mare
Sioeli Lama Wing (1995-10-12) 12 October 1995 (age 28) 6   Steaua București
Nicolas Onuțu Wing (1995-12-27) 27 December 1995 (age 28) 27   Annonay
Marius Simionescu Wing (1997-09-05) 5 September 1997 (age 26) 30   Timișoara
Fonovai Tangimana Wing (1989-10-25) 25 October 1989 (age 34) 22   Steaua București
Hinckley Vaovasa Fullback (1998-09-24) 24 September 1998 (age 25) 18   Steaua București

Notable players edit

 
Mircea Paraschiv captained Romania from 1976 to 1987.
 
Florică Murariu was one of a number of Romanian rugby internationals who were killed during the Romanian Revolution in December 1989.[20]
 
Romania's current top point scorer and most capped player of all time, Florin Vlaicu.

The 1924 Romania Olympic team are the only Romanian inductee to have been inducted into the IRB Hall of Fame. Nicolae Mărăscu captained the Hall of Fame side. The highest point of Mărăscu's career was at the 1924 tournament, earning Romania the bronze medal. He played as a centre and had five caps, without ever scoring, since his first match, in 1919, a 48–5 loss to France, in Paris, for the Inter-Allied Games, and his last, at 22 May 1927, in a 21–5 win over Czechoslovakia, in Bratislava.

Iulian Dumitraș was Romania's main man. Dumitraș was known to be one of the Oaks' most gifted playmakers, with an accurate kicking boot and a penchant for sparking attacks. Having made his test debut in 2002, he went on to start in every match a Rugby World Cup 2007 in France, bringing plenty of experience to the nation. The then standing 1.88m and weighing in a 110 kg, Dumitraș was a punishing runner when he chimes into the line on attack, which he looked to do often, and he provided a solid and dependable last obstacle in defence.

Sorin Socol is regarded by many good judges as the then best player in the current squad and was one of the rocks of the Romanian forward pack. He has captained the most matches to date for Romania, between 2003 and 2011. A total of 61 tests, 36 of them were as captain. He captained Romania for the first time on 30 October 2003 during the 2003 Rugby World Cup match against Namibia. He went on and featured in the 2007 World Cup squad and eventually retired from all international rugby after the 2011 tournament. Socol had one of Romania's highest winning percentage as a captain of 63.88.

Florin Vlaicu is Romania's top ever point scorer and also the most capped player appearing in 104 tests so far. Vlaicu made his international debut in 2006 as a substitute against Ukraine. He played for Romania in the IRB Nations Cup and in their 2007 Rugby World Cup qualifying before appearing for them in the 2007 Rugby World Cup. He played two Tests at the World Cup as a substitute against both Scotland and the All Blacks. He also played at the 2011 and 2015 Rugby World Cups.

Cristian Petre is Romania's most recognized player after dominating the lock position for eleven years. He is one of Romania's most capped player with a total of 92 matches and a career span that started in 2001 against England and ended in 2012 against Italy. Petre has featured in three Rugby World Cups, first in 2003, going on to feature in 2007 and his last being in 2011. Petre has scored a total of six tries and had winning percentage of 55.43.

Cătălin Fercu is generally regarded as one of Romania's true global superstar of rugby union. Fercu is Romania's top try scorers. He had quickly made appearances on the international stage at a very young age and played against France and Scotland in the Autumn internationals in 2006. He also scored a try against the French. Fercu helped guide Romania to the 2007 Rugby World Cup as he played in the qualifier matches including the vital games against Georgia and Spain and scored a try against Spain in the game that sealed their qualification to the Rugby World Cup. Fercu was a late withdrawal from their Rugby World Cup squad in 2011 because he was not prepared to fly all the way to New Zealand. The Romanian side arrived in Christchurch to prepare for their first game of the tournament against Scotland in Invercargill on 10 September without Fercu, who failed to get on the plane when it left Romania.

Another one of the Oaks greatest players are Romeo Gontineac, represented Romania in four Rugby World Cups from 1995 to 2007. The hard running centre, who became the national coach in 2010, was capped 75 times for the nation, scoring 13 tries and a drop goal. During his career he played professionally in Romania, South Africa and France.

Members of the 1924 Olympics team edit

Coaches edit

Current coaching staff edit

The current coaching staff of the Romanian national team:

Name Nationality Role
Iustin Ilioiu   ROU Manager
David Gérard   FRA Head coach
Jon Callard   ENG Attack coach
Simon Maisuradze   GEO Forwards coach
Raphaël Francois Saint-André   FRA Assistant coach with the three quarters and skills
Michaël Dallery   FRA Head trainer with physical training
Paul Cere-Labourdette   FRA Second coach with physical training & GPS
Daniel Carpo   ROU Second coach with physical training & GPS
Daniel Răzvan Wanya Crîngu   ROU Doctor
Marius Tudosi   ROU Physiotherapist
David Popa   ROU Video analyst

Former coaches edit

Years Coach
1961–1965   Petre Cosmănescu
1965–1968   Viorel Morariu
1968–1972   Petre Cosmănescu
1973–1974   Valeriu Irimescu
1974–1981   Petre Cosmănescu
1985–1987   Theodor Rădulescu
1987–1989   Mihai Naca
1989–1990   Theodor Rădulescu
1991   Peter Ianusevici
1992–1994   Theodor Rădulescu
1994–1999   Mircea Paraschiv
1999–2001   Eduard Suciu
2002–2003   Bernard Charreyre
2004   Phillipe Sauton
2004   Robert Antonin
2005–2007   Daniel Santamans
2007–2008   Marin Moț
2008–2009   Ellis Meachen
2009   Marin Moț
2009–2010   Serge Lairle
2010–2011   Romeo Gontineac
2012   Haralambie Dumitraș
2013–2018   Lynn Howells
2018   Thomas Lièvremont
2019   Marius Țincu (interim)
2019–2022   Andy Robinson
2022–2023   Eugen Apjok (interim)
2024-   David Gérard

Individual all-time records edit

Most caps edit

# Player Pos Span Mat Start Sub Won Lost Draw %
1 Florin Vlaicu Centre 2006–2022 129 103 26 79 47 3 62.89
2 Cătălin Fercu Fullback 2005–2020 109 107 2 73 33 3 68.34
3 Florin Surugiu Scrum-half 2008– 107 68 39 64 42 1 62.35
4 Mihai Macovei Flanker 2006–2023 104 93 11 60 43 1 58.98
5 Valentin Calafeteanu Scrum-half 2004–2019 100 54 46 61 37 2 62.00
6 Cristian Petre Lock 2001–2012 92 83 9 50 40 2 55.43
7 Csaba Gál Centre 2005–2015 88 65 23 49 37 2 56.81
8 Valentin Popârlan Lock 2007–2020 77 50 27 48 29 0 62.33
9 Romeo Gontineac Centre 1995–2008 76 75 1 35 41 0 46.05
Adrian Lungu Centre 1980–1995 76 75 1 40 36 0 52.63
Lucian Sîrbu Scrum-half 1996–2011 76 62 14 40 34 2 53.94

Last updated: Romania vs Belgium, 10 February 2024. Statistics include officially capped matches only.[21]

Most tries edit

# Player Pos Span Mat Start Sub Pts Tries
1 Cătălin Fercu Fullback 2005–2020 109 107 2 171 33
2 Gabriel Brezoianu Centre 1996–2007 71 67 4 142 28
3 Mihai Macovei Flanker 2006–2023 104 93 11 110 22
4 Ionut Dumitru Centre 2013–2022 55 49 6 85 17
5 Ovidiu Tonița Flanker 2000–2016 73 67 6 75 15
6 Petre Mitu Scrum-half 1996–2009 41 36 5 339 14
Cristian Săuan Wing 1999–2007 37 32 5 70 14
Marius Țincu Hooker 2002–2012 53 49 4 70 14
Florin Vlaicu Centre 2006–2022 129 103 26 1025 14
9 4 players on 13 tries

Last updated: Romania vs Belgium, 10 February 2024. Statistics include officially capped matches only.[22]

Most points edit

# Player Pos Span Mat Pts Tries Conv Pens Drop
1 Florin Vlaicu Centre 2006–2022 129 1321 14 173 203 4
2 Dănuț Dumbravă Fly-half 2002–2015 73 389 3 73 74 2
3 Petre Mitu Scrum-half 1996–2009 41 339 14 55 53 0
4 Ionuţ Tofan Fly-half 1997–2007 60 316 12 53 46 4
5 Valentin Calafeteanu Scrum-half 2004–2019 100 233 11 32 37 1
6 Neculai Nichitean Fly-half 1990–1997 28 201 0 18 45 10
7 Cătălin Fercu Fullback 2005–2020 109 171 33 1 1 0
8 Ionel Melinte Fullback 2018–present 28 167 8 35 19 0
9 Gelu Ignat Fly-half 1986–1992 25 148 1 15 32 6
10 Gabriel Brezoianu Centre 1996–2007 71 142 28 1 0 0

Last updated: Romania vs Belgium, 10 February 2024. Statistics include officially capped matches only.[23]

Most matches as captain edit

# Player Pos Span Mat Won Lost Draw % Pts Tries
1 Mihai Macovei Flanker 2012–2023 72 47 24 1 68.10 105 21
2 Sorin Socol Lock 2001–2011 36 22 12 2 63.88 25 5
3 Stelian Burcea Flanker 2009–2018 19 13 6 0 68.42 15 3
4 Mircea Paraschiv Scrum-half 1980–1987 18 7 10 1 41.66 16 4
5 Haralambie Dumitras Number 8 1989–1993 14 5 9 0 35.71 20 5
Romeo Gontineac Centre 1999–2003 14 4 10 0 28.57 5 1
7 Tiberiu Brînză Number 8 1994–1997 13 1 12 0 7.69 5 1
8 Marius Țincu Hooker 2007–2012 11 5 6 0 45.45 0 0
9 Costica Mersoiu Number 8 2007–2008 10 6 4 0 60.00 5 1
10 Alin Petrache Number 8 1999–2004 7 3 4 0 42.85 0 0

Last updated: Romania vs Belgium, 10 February 2024. Statistics include officially capped matches only.[24]

Most points in a match edit

# Player Pos Pts Tries Conv Pens Drop Opposition Venue Date
1 Ionuţ Tofan Fly-half 32 2 8 2 0   Spain   Iași 05/10/2002
2 Virgil Popisteanu Fly-half 27 0 12 1 0   Portugal   Bucharest 13/04/1996
Petre Mitu Scrum-half 27 1 2 6 0   Portugal   Lisbon 04/02/2001
4 Ionel Rotaru Wing 25 5 0 0 0   Portugal   Bucharest 13/04/1996
5 Florin Vlaicu Fullback 24 1 8 0 1   Czech Republic   Bucharest 22/03/2008
Florin Vlaicu Centre 24 1 2 5 0   Russia   Bucharest 09/02/2013
7 Gelu Ignat Fly-half 22 0 5 4 0   Netherlands   Treviso 30/09/1990
Petre Mitu Scrum-half 22 1 4 3 0   Russia   Bârlad 18/03/2001
Ionuţ Tofan Fly-half 22 1 1 5 0   Russia   Krasnodar 24/03/2002
10 5 players on 21 points

Last updated: Romania vs Belgium, 10 February 2024. Statistics include officially capped matches only.[25]

Most tries in a match edit

# Player Pos Pts Tries Conv Pens Drop Opposition Venue Date
1 Gheorgie Rascanu Flanker 20 5 0 0 0   Morocco   Bucharest 02/05/1972
Cornel Popescu Wing 20 5 0 0 0   Portugal   Bârlad 18/10/1986
Ionel Rotaru Wing 25 5 0 0 0   Portugal   Bucharest 13/04/1996
4 Petre Motrescu Wing 16 4 0 0 0   Italy   Bucharest 01/05/1977
Gheorghe Solomie Wing 20 4 0 0 0   Belgium   Brussels 04/10/1997
Lucian Colceriu Wing 20 4 0 0 0   Poland   Bucharest 02/05/1998
7 11 players on 3 tries

Last updated: Romania vs Belgium, 10 February 2024. Statistics include officially capped matches only.[26]

Media coverage edit

Romania's Rugby Europe Championship matches, mid year internationals and end of year internationals are currently televised by TVR.

Kits and symbols edit

Romania usually wears a yellow shirt with blue shorts and red socks as home uniform, with the exceptions being at the 1924 Olympic Games in Paris, where a light blue shirt with the Royal coat of arms[27] was worn, as well in the 2003 Rugby World Cup, where a blue uniform was worn in all of the matches. Since 2014, the jerseys are adorned with Romanian traditional embroidering motifs and Dacian patterns.[28][29][30][31]

The origins of the oak leaf as symbol for the Romanian team date from 1979, after former Romanian international player Viorel Morariu and then-president of Federația Română de Rugby, decided, with the consultation of specialists, that an oak leaf would be the team emblem[32] (as during the touris in the British Isles and Ireland, the Communist coat of arms painted on the Romanian players' shirts became unrecognisable due to the rain).[33][34][35][36] The Latin word for oak, "robur", also meant "strength" in that same language.[32][37] In 1980, a new badge, a shield with an oak leaf (which made the Romanian team be nicknamed "Stejarii", which means "the oaks") and the acronym "FRR" on the top. The adoption of said emblem could be also seen as an act of defiance towards the then-ruling regime in Romania, whose approval was given to the Romanian federations's requests to be affiliated to the IRFB.[38] After the 2003 Rugby World Cup, the oak leaf was seen without the shield, usually accompanied by the inscription "Rugby Romania".

Kit suppliers edit

Period Kit manufacturer Shirt sponsor
1919–1985 No supplier No shirt sponsor
1985–1988 Adidas
1988–1989 Bukta
1989–1993 Adidas Rank Xerox
1994–1996 Gilbert No shirt sponsor
1996–1997 Puma AG[39]
1997–2001 Gilbert No shirt sponsor
2002 Petrom
2003–2008 O'Neills Orange
2009 No shirt sponsor
2010 CEC Bank
2011 KooGa
2012 Tall Ball
2012 Samurai Sportswear (worn in the 2012 end of the year internationals)
2013–2016 BLK
2016–2019 Mizuno
2020 Tall Ball
2021 Macron
2021 Stanleybet (worn in the 2021 mid-year internationals)
2021– No shirt sponsor
2023 Kaufland

See also edit

Further reading edit

  • Bath, Richard (1997). The Complete Book of Rugby. London: Sevenoaks. ISBN 978-1-8620-0013-1.
  • Ravagnani, Luciano; Fadda, Pierluigi (2007). Storia del Rugby Mondiale dalle origini ad oggi (2nd ed.). Milan: Editrice SEP. ISBN 978-8-8871-1092-0.
  • Zamfir, Constantin (2010). Povestea naționalei de rugby continuă: palmaresul revăzut și completat (3rd ed.). Bucharest: Editura Paco. ISBN 978-6-0680-0654-3.
  • Garcia, Henri (2013). La Fabuleuse Histoire du rugby. Paris: La Martinière. ISBN 978-2-7324-5456-6.
  • Moldoveanu, Traian (2016). Rugby: Istorie românească, Vol. 1 1908-1982. Editura Scripta. ISBN 978-9-7382-3855-8.
  • Moldoveanu, Traian (2018). Rugby: Istorie românească, Vol. 2 1983-2018. Editura Scripta.

Notes edit


References edit

  1. ^ a b "Rugby: România - deținătoarea necunoscută a unui record mondial" [Romania holds longest unbeaten run] (in Romanian). Romania: RFI. 6 May 2020. Retrieved 31 October 2022.
  2. ^ Men's International Rugby Union Teams beaten by Romania
  3. ^ "Independent Appeal Committee decision regarding Romania and Spain".
  4. ^ "Rugby Teams, Scores, Stats, News, Fixtures, Results, Tables - ESPN". ESPNscrum.
  5. ^ 1974–1975 FIRA Trophy
  6. ^ Vivian Jenkins, ed. (1982). Rothmans Rugby Yearboook 1982–83. Rothmans Publications Ltd. p. 65. ISBN 0907574130.
  7. ^ "IRB". Archived from the original on 5 October 2013.
  8. ^ November gain or pain? Retrieved December 2016
  9. ^ "Russia qualify for 2019 Rugby World Cup after Romania, Belgium and Spain sanctioned for ineligible players". Independent.co.uk. 16 May 2018. Retrieved 13 June 2018.
  10. ^ Disciplinary update: Romania and Spain to appeal disputes committee outcomes
  11. ^ Independent Appeal Committee decision regarding Romania and Spain
  12. ^ "Games played between Romania and France".
  13. ^ Was played the first round of 2003 Rugby World Cup – European qualification
  14. ^ Was played as the second round of 2003 Rugby World Cup – European qualification
  15. ^ a b c relegation and promotion on two year based ranking
  16. ^ a b "Men's World Rankings". World Rugby. Retrieved 5 February 2024.
  17. ^ Romania statistics
  18. ^ "33 de Stejari pentru Cupa Mondială! Cristi Chirică va fi căpitanul României!". FRR (in Romanian). 16 August 2023. Retrieved 16 August 2023.
  19. ^ "Trei modificări în lotul României pentru Cupa Mondială". FRR (in Romanian). 28 August 2023. Retrieved 8 September 2023.
  20. ^ Coyle, Danny (17 September 2014). "20 Biggest Shock Results in Rugby History". The Bleacher Report. Retrieved 21 August 2017.
  21. ^ "Rugby Teams, Scores, Stats, News, Fixtures, Results, Tables - ESPN".
  22. ^ "Rugby Teams, Scores, Stats, News, Fixtures, Results, Tables - ESPN".
  23. ^ "Rugby Teams, Scores, Stats, News, Fixtures, Results, Tables - ESPN".
  24. ^ "Rugby Teams, Scores, Stats, News, Fixtures, Results, Tables - ESPN".
  25. ^ "Rugby Teams, Scores, Stats, News, Fixtures, Results, Tables - ESPN".
  26. ^ "Rugby Teams, Scores, Stats, News, Fixtures, Results, Tables - ESPN".
  27. ^ "Authentic Jerseys - 1924 Romania Jersey". www.sports-depoque.com. Retrieved 18 February 2024.
  28. ^ Nazare, Daniel (27 June 2021). "Naționala de rugby, echipament cu însemnele tradiționale! Chimirul, din nou pe tricoul "stejarilor"". Prosport (in Romanian). Retrieved 18 February 2024.
  29. ^ Iasi, Ziarul de. "Motive tradiţionale pe tricourile rugbiştilor". www.ziaruldeiasi.ro. Retrieved 18 February 2024.
  30. ^ Gorjeanul, Echipa (14 September 2015). "Motive schilereşti, pe echipamentul grupării de rugby a României | Ştiri locale de ultima ora, stiri video - Ştiri Gorjeanul.ro" (in Romanian). Retrieved 18 February 2024.
  31. ^ "Colours and patterns from tradition on Romania's new jerseys for the Rugby World Cup 2023". www.macron.com (in French). 3 August 2023. Retrieved 18 February 2024.
  32. ^ a b "Un stejar pentru Stejarii României: Campanie de plantare de copaci în numele echipei naţionale de rugby". Ziarul Impact (in Romanian). Retrieved 18 February 2024.
  33. ^ "ROMÂNIA - IRLANDA / ISTORIE: Cum a înlocuit Frunza de Stejar stema Republicii Socialiste România pe tricourile rugbyștilor". www.rugby.ro (in Romanian). Retrieved 18 February 2024.
  34. ^ Journal, Romania (29 May 2023). "Oak planting event on behalf of the national rugby team". The Romania Journal. Retrieved 18 February 2024.
  35. ^ "Povestea frunzei de stejar". www.rugby.ro (in Romanian). Retrieved 18 February 2024.
  36. ^ Burlacu, Marian (21 September 2013). "L-au fentat pe Ceauşescu! Afilierea Federaţiei Române de Rugby la forul mondial, în 1987, s-a făcut fără aprobarea partidului comunist". Libertatea (in Romanian). Retrieved 18 February 2024.
  37. ^ "Un stejar pentru Stejarii României: Campanie de plantare de copaci în numele echipei naționale de rugby - Jurnal de Sustenabilitate" (in Romanian). 29 May 2023. Retrieved 18 February 2024.
  38. ^ Burlacu, Marian (21 September 2013). "L-au fentat pe Ceauşescu! Afilierea Federaţiei Române de Rugby la forul mondial, în 1987, s-a făcut fără aprobarea partidului comunist". Libertatea (in Romanian). Retrieved 18 February 2024.
  39. ^ Museo del Rugby - N.1, Gabriel Vlad (Andrea Castellani)

External links edit