Preview: Canada v Romania

Date published: October 5 2015

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Canada and Romania face off on Tuesday in a battle for pride as the Canadians look to finish their Rugby World Cup campaign with a win.

Their most recent run-in took place on 22 November 2014. The Oaks won 18-9 and Florin Vlaicu's six penalty goals provided all of the hosts' points. 

Vlaicu also provided all of Romania's 21 points in a 21-20 triumph on 16 November 2013. However, Romania captain Mihai Macovei expects things to very different this time around.

Canada have impressed with strong performances so far against France and Italy, pushing the Azzurri close, and making them a real threat for Macovei and his team.

"It's not going to be the same game this time. This is the World Cup. We are preparing for anything," Macovei said.

"The World Cup starts for us now. This is a very important game for us. We just want to play the game. We are ready for it, and to play well. I won't talk about 2019 now, we are only focused on this next game and victory.

"Canada have a great system. They play with a lot of structure. When we played them twice in Bucharest they were very organised. Nothing complicated, they get the simple things right. The played the same system both times they have played and haven't changed much." 

Canada will be the first side to complete all four of their pool matches and it's been a tough campaign, being the only side other than Fiji to play their first three matches against Tier One opponents.

Moreover, Canada have won only one of their last 11 World Cup matches, the 25-20 victory against Tonga in Whangarei on 14 September 2011.

Even so, team manager Gareth Rees and former fly-half believes that the World Cup has been brilliant for spreading the word about the sport back home in Canada.

"Ever since my involvement, the World Cup has always been a great opportunity for us to shine the spotlight on rugby," Rees said.

"Everyone's been looking and enjoying the game and the brand of rugby that's there. This is something that we set as a goal for our players, to play in a manner that Canadians can be proud, and there's no question that they can be proud of it."

A victory would go some way to furthering that enthusiasm, as Canada look to push Romania into finishing bottom their World Cup group, where the Oaks have finished on two occasions previously in 1995 and 2011.

On the other hand, Romania know that a win in this game would keep their hopes of third place in the pool alive, ahead of their final game against Italy.

Ones to Watch:

For Canada: The best of Canada's rugby in this tournament has come through DTH van der Merwe, who scored another excellent try against France last week. Now the country's all-time record try scorer in World Cups with five, overtaking the mark of four he shared with Alan Charron and Morgan Williams, Van der Merwe will fancy his chances of adding to his tally in Leicester.

For Romania: Given his record of punishing Canada off the tee in their recent meetings, it would be wrong to not look at Florin Vlaicu and the damage he can cause if Canada get on the wrong side of referee Wayne Barnes. The veteran has scored 627 points in over 80 Tests for his country since his debut back in 2006.

Head-to-head: Two enforcers in the pack, as Jebb Sinclair goes up against Valentin Ursache. Sinclair feels like the long-term successor to Jamie Cudmore as a leader up front and the London Irish forward packs a punch at 193cm and 111kg. Ursache scored Romania's only try in their opening loss to France and the Oyonnax man won't shy away from the contact area when Romania look to get on top in the rucks and mauls.

Previous results:

2014: Romania won 18-9 in Bucharest
2013: Romania won 21-20 in Bucharest
2005: Romania won 22-20 in Bucharest
1995: Canada won 34-3 in Port Elizabeth
1991: Canada won 19-11 in Toulouse

Prediction: Canada's narrow loss to Italy and dangerous backline play against France and Italy showed what they're capable of, but the power of Romania's pack and espeically their scrum can't be discounted. This should be an entertaining contest. Canada by 8!

Canada: 15 Harry Jones, 14 Jeff Hassler, 13 Ciaran Hearn, 12 Nick Blevins, 11 DTH van der Merwe, 10 Nathan Hirayama, 9 Gordon McRorie, 8 Aaron Carpenter, 7 John Moonlight, 6 Jebb Sinclair, 5 Jamie Cudmore (c), 4 Brett Beukeboom, 3 Doug Wooldridge, 2 Ray Barkwill, 1 Hubert Buydens.
Replacements: 16 Benoit Piffero, 17 Djustice Sears-Duru, 18 Jake Ilnicki, 19 Kyle Gilmour, 20 Nanyak Dala, 21 Phil Mack, 22 Conor Trainor, 23 James Pritchard

Romania: 15 Catalin Fercu, 14 Madalin Lemnaru, 13 Paula Kinikinilau, 12 Florin Vlaicu, 11 Ionut Botezatu, 10 Michael Wiringi, 9 Florin Surugiu, 8 Mihai Macovei (c), 7 Viorel Lucaci, 6 Valentin Ursache, 5 Johannes van Heerden, 4 Valentin Poparlan, 3 Paulica Ion, 2 Otar Turashvili, 1 Mihaita Lazar.
Replacements: 16 Andrei Radoi, 17 Andrei Ursache, 18 Alexandru Tarus, 19 Daniel Carpo, 20 Stelian Burcea, 21 Valentin Calafeteanu, 22 Adrian Apostol, 23 Csaba Gal.

Date: Tuesday, October 6
Venue: Leicester City Stadium, Leicester
Kick-off: 16:45 local (15:45 GMT)
Referee: Wayne Barnes (England)
Assistant Referees: Glen Jackson (New Zealand),  Marius Mitrea (Italy)
TMO: Ben Skeen (New Zealand)

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