Romania select weakened team against England

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The Independent Online

Romania will field a second-string side against England on Saturday after coach Romeo Gontineac made 11 changes for the Otago Stadium clash.

The Mighty Oaks have targeted their final Pool B fixture against European Nations Cup rivals Georgia - which takes place just four days after the England game - as the priority.

Victory for either team could secure third place in the group and automatic qualification for the 2015 World Cup in England.

Lock Cristian Petre and loose-forward Ovidiu Tonita have been retained in the pack from Romania's defeat to Argentina.

In the backs, only Iulian Dumitras and Ionel Cazan have kept their place and they will form a new centre partnership against Mike Tindall and Manu Tuilagi.

The bench includes squad captain and veteran hooker Marius Tincu and London Irish prop Paulica Ion.

"It's the team we trust. We trusted the guys before the World Cup and we will trust them on Saturday also," said Gontineac.

"We have players who have already played 80 minutes so the others have to play as well so everyone will enjoy their World Cup.

"I don't think it's a risk. As I told you, we trust this team."

England and Romania have met on four previous occasions, the last of which was at Twickenham in 2001 when Clive Woodward's side won 134-0.

"It's not going to be the same," insisted Gontineac.

"England are still a very good team but the Romanian team has changed a little bit so it's not going to be the same.

"We have changes in the team so we want these players to prove that they are good enough to play even against England, which is one of the best teams in the world."

Romania team to play England in Pool B of the Rugby World Cup at the Otago Stadium, Dunedin, on Saturday, September 24 (kick-off 7am BST):

F Vlaicu; S Ciuntu, I Cazan, I Dumitras, A Apostol; M Dumbrava, L Sirbu; N Nere, B Suman, S Florea, V Poparlan, C Petre (capt), S Burcea, C Ratiu, O Tonita.

Replacements: M Tincu, P Ion, M Macovei, D Ianus, V Calafeteanu, C Gal, C Nicolae.