Romania are in Pool B alongside New Zealand, Ireland, Scotland and Tonga. So, a tough draw but this is a team with grit & determination. 

Rugby has been played in Romania competitively since the 1920’s – indeed at the time France joined forces with them to try to set up an alternative tournament to the UK dominated Five Nations. 

Known as the Oaks, thanks to their solid, robust packs, many players left for Italy & France but since 2001, they have been building up a strong national team. Since then, they are four times winners of the Rugby Europe Championship and three-time winners of WR Nations Cup. Qualifying for every World Cup, they will be looking to put the 2019 debacle behind them, when they were expelled for inclusion of an ineligible player. 

Their Head Coach Eugen Apjok will have a keen eye on Tonga – ranked 15th against Romania’s 19th – on their head-to-head on 8th October as the best option for winning in this pool. 

Captain: Christian-Marian Chirica

Player to Watch: Gheorge Gajion, known as “The Beast from the East” with good reason! But also keep an eye on Alexandru Savin as prop. 

For more information on Romanian Rugby:

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What to Eat & Drink whilst watching the Oaks

Food:  Romania is a melting pot combining dishes from the Austro Hungarian Empire, spices from Turkey and also the influence of the Black Sea with fish and seafood. But still regional food differences remain still today such as in the region of Transylvania (yes it really exists and has its own version of Goulash!).  Thanks to the country’s history, today the food is largely naturally organic, free range and unfussy.  

Pork is the main meat of most regions in Romania, and turns up in a variety of guises. Especially delicious smoked bacon (check out that sounds like an ideal ingredient for match day food – Bacon Doorstops anyone? 

Mici are a type of small sausage, usually beef and pork flavoured with garlic & hot paprika. I am not sure that Sarmole will gain many followers for match food (cabbage leaves stuffed with meat & rice), but Cartofi Copti sound perfect – basically roasted potatoes, cut repeatedly before cooking (like hasselback potatoes) and each slit filled with bacon and butter – sounds heavenly match day comfort food. 

Also, Chiftele – or Romanian meatballs (recipes online) – the key is LOTS of fresh herbs, dill is popular and I like tarragon for extra flavour. Easy to make ahead of kick off and serve with dipping sauce. 


Beer: One of the main brands of Romanian beer is Ursus who also make a Black stout like version. Look out also for Ciuc and Timisoreana. Available online at specialist beer suppliers such as

Wine:  Romania has a long history of winemaking and today is the source of some delightful, good value wines. There has been a lot of investment from foreign wine regions, ranging from Bordeaux to Italy and even from the UK. Many of the classic international grape varieties such as Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir and Merlot dominate, but Romania is also seeing a revival of its own indigenous grape varieties.   Feteasca Neagra is flying the flag for Romanian Reds and has been likened by some wine journalists trying to “place” it in the flavour spectrum as similar in style and body to Sangiovese (the main grape variety of Chianti).  Its equivalents in the white corner are Feteasca  Alba and Feteasca Regala – two whites with an attractive aromatic nose – and the latter can be quite complex.

 Made by the charming Baron Jacob Kripp in Transylvania, the Price Stirbey Tamaioasa Romannesca Sec is a delightful aromatic white wine with more than a hint of Muscat about it. Off dry with lovely apricot hints. Under £12

If you are looking for a crowd-pleasing Rosé (with relevant price tag – just £6.50), then check out the Babele label– especially the Rose. Made by Cramele Recas, owned by an Englishman and his Romanian wife. Zingy notes of raspberries, its brilliant with the meatballs above.  From

Another one from the same stable of Cramele Recas, but this time a red wine – Incanta Pinot Noir. It punches well above its £7.99 price tag from Don’t expect the complexity of burgundy but its delicious, bright cherry fruit is perfect with aged cheeses or bacon sarnies! 

National Drink: There is a local spirit called Tuica or Painca dependent on which fruit it is made from and how it is fermented.  Perhaps best stick to the wine! There is a wide range of them on

Random little-known fact – King Charles (when he was Prince) set up a Foundation in Romania to help support their rural communities.