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Thirteen-man Romania edge past USA Eagles

MATCH REPORT: Romania has beaten the United States 22-20 in Chicago on Friday despite being reduced to 13 players at the end of the game.

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The Eagles last played Romania in August 2023, coming away with a 31-17 win, in the Pershing Cup – a tradition between the two nations during every Test match.

Poor execution at key moments cost the USA and in the end, the failure to take advantage of scoring opportunities gave the Oaks a hard-earned victory.

The USA tasted first blood when Jamason Fa’anana-Schultz bashed his way over, with the try converted by AJ MacGinty.

The Oaks responded quickly when wing Tevita Manumua, showing the cover a clean pair of heels, skirted his way over in the corner. Alin Conache had no trouble with the kick to level the scores.

Romania’s Thomas Tu’avao was binned for a dangerous clearout but the USA took the initiative again, only for MacGinty to be held up over the line. Another big scrum from the Oaks gave Ali Conache a chance to push his team out in front just before halftime but his kick from halfway sailed just wide of the mark.

Early in the second half Conache again stepped up to the tee, and this time his strike was true to give the Oaks a 13-10 lead.

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The final quarter saw Conache and MacGinty exchanged kicks before the Romanian added his fourth penalty of the day to close the gap to a single point.

It would be his final act, with Gabriel Rupanu and Daniel Plai taking over halfback duties for the Oaks.

The game was halted when Kamil Sobota was knocked out in a heavy collision with Fa’anana-Schultz, and when it resumed Plai stepped up to nail his first shot at goal and push the Oaks ahead by two.

With the clock winding down, discipline became a problem for Romania.

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Vlad Neculau saw yellow for a heavy shot on Christian Dyer at a ruck. Repeat infringements then saw Alexandru Savin joining his teammate in the bin with a minute to play.

Despite the Romanians being reduced to just 13 men, MacGinty opted for a shot at the posts from a tricky angle and again the flags stayed down. One last attacking sequence ended with the Eagles bizarrely kicking away possession, and the Oaks raised their arms in celebration when the ball went dead.

The USA Eagles host Scotland in the nation’s capital next Friday while Romania now heads north to take on Canada in Ottawa.

Scorers:

For USA:
Tries: Fa’anana-Schultz, MacGinty
Cons: MacGinty
Pens: MacGinty

For Romania:
Try: Manumua
Cons: Conache
Pens: Conache, Plai

Teams:

USA: 15 Mitch Wilson, 14 Christian Dyer, 13 Tavite Lopeti, 12 Tommaso Boni, 11 11 Nate Augspurger, 10 AJ MacGinty, 9 JP Smith, 8 Thomas Tu’avao, 7 Jamason Fa’anana-Schultz, 6 Sam Golla, 5 Greg Peterson (captain), 4 Renger van Eerten, 3 Paul Mullen, 2 Dylan Fawsitt, 1 Jake Turnbull

Romania: 15 Paul Popoaia, 14 Marius Simionescu (captain), 13 Mihai Graure, 12 Jason Tomane, 11 Tevita Manumua, 10 Hinckley Vaovasa, 9 Alin Conache, 8 Nicolaas Immelman, 7 Dragos Ser, 6 Vlad Neculau, 5 Andrei Mahu, 4 Yanis Horvat, 3 Vasile Balan, 2 Ștefan Buruiana, 1 Iulian Hartig

Referee: Angus Mabey (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Marcus Playle (New Zealand) & Robin Kaluzniak (Canada)
TMO: Cam Russell (Canada)

 

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