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Tonga v Romania - Teams and Prediction

WORLD CUP, ROUND FIVE: There is still something to play for in the penultimate match of the pool phase between Tonga and Romania.

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Both teams haven’t won a match at World Cup 2023, despite determined performances against Ireland, Scotland and South Africa. But neither side will want to return home without any pool points to show for their efforts in France.

Romania head coach Eugen Apjok has named hooker Ovidiu Cojocaru as first-time captain – in his 34th international – in a team showing nine changes from the defeat to Scotland.

No.8 Cristi Chirica, who has led Romania throughout RWC 2023, drops out of the matchday 23 altogether, with Andre Gorin replacing him at the back of the pack.

Meanwhile, former All Black George Moala is set to make a belated World Cup debut at the age of 32 in a starting Tongan XV that shows six changes of personnel and one positional switch.

As well as Moala, former Wallaby Adam Coleman makes his first start of RWC 2023, the day after his 32nd birthday, after two bench appearances in the only change to the front five.

History suggests that the two sides will be very evenly matched in Lille – while the lure of finishing their campaigns with a win will be a big one.

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“They’re in the same shoes we are, playing the first three top teams first. If there was a team for them to target, this is the game,” said Tonga head coach Toutai Kefu.

“Last time we played them two or three years ago we lost, and the time before that we only just won, so it’s not going to be easy.

“If we can bring that same energy and aggression and commitment that we did for the last couple of games, we should get a good result.”

Tonga’s captain and scrumhalf Sonatane Takulua wants his team to end their campaign with a bang.

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“We were disappointed with the losses in our last three games but there were some positives that we took to build into the last game against Romania,” said Takulua.

“We have been working really hard this week and hopefully we’ll go out there and deliver what we’ve been working on.”

On what his memories will be of the World Cup, he added: “Playing all the matches. Getting to lead out my team on Sunday, first time in a World Cup, will be special for me and my family.”

Tonga v Romania - Teams and Prediction

Tonga v Romania - Teams and Prediction

Prediction:

#rugby365com: Tonga by 20 points.

Teams:

Tonga: 15 Charles Piutau, 14 Solomone Kata, 13 George Moala, 12 Pita Ahki, 11 Afusipa Taumoepeau, 10 William Havili, 9 Sonatane Takulua (captain), 8 Sione Vailanu, 7 Sione Talitui, 6 Semisi Paea, 5 Adam Coleman, 4 Halaleva Fifita, 3 Ben Tameifuna, 2 Paula Ngauamo, 1 Siegfried Fisi’ihoi.
Replacements: 16 Sione Anga’aelangi, 17 Paula Latu, 18 Siate Tokolahi, 19 Sitiveni Mafi, 20 Penitoa Finau, 21 Manusiu Paea, 22 Patrick Pellegrini, 23 Kyren Taumoefolau.

Romania: 15 Marius Simionescu, 14 Nicholas Onutu, 13 Tevita Manumua, 12 Fonovai Tangimana, 11 Taliauli Sikuea, 10 Alin Conache, 9 Florin Surugiu, 8 Andre Gorin, 7 Cristi Boboc, 6 Vlad Neculau, 5 Marius Iftimiciuc, 4 Adrian Motoc, 3 Alexandru Gordas, 2 Ovidiu Cojocaru (captain), 1 Alexandru Savin.
Replacements: 16 Robert Irimescu, 17 Iulian Hartig, 18 Costel Burtila, 19 Florian Rosu, 20 Damian Stratila, 21 Gabriel Rupanu, 22 Alexandru Bucur, 23 Mihai Graure.

Date: Sunday, October 8
Venue: Stade Pierre-Mauroy, Lille
Kick-off: 17.45 (15.45 GMT; 18.45 EEST; 04.45 Monday, October 9 TOT)
Referee: Angus Gardner (Australia)
Assistant Referees: Mathieu Raynal (France), Christophe Ridley (England)
TMO: Ben Whitehouse (Wales)

Source: @WorldRugby

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