Romania v Spain (rugby)

Saturday 18th February 2017. Stadion Emil Alexandrescu, Iași Stadion Arcul de Triumf, Bucharest. 1.00pm. Ticket price: free.

Aahh, Iași. (Pronounced “yash”.) Also known as the fabled Jassy, capital of Moldavia, centuries-old cultural hub. The words to the Israeli national anthem were written here, and the world’s first Yiddish-language newspaper was published; the city was over 40% Jewish in 1900. Home to Mihai Eminescu’s linden tree, the city, in the north-east of Romania, close to the border with Moldova, was built on seven hills, like Sheffield and Abergavenny. To understand Romania, one must visit Iași. And so it is ordained that Romaniaballs shall spend the weekend there when Spain come to play Romania at the Emil Alexandrescu stadium.Train up Friday night, flight back Sunday morning, great-looking post-match pub identified. Continue reading

More snippets

The brand and the 50-year historic record of 2011 league champions Oţelul Galaţi go up for auction, starting price €9,000…

On the pitch, Viitorul extend their lead at the top with a win, and Craiova demolish Voluntari 5-0, while the bottom two (and Astra) are not quite dead and buried yet…

The league’s biggest signing Denis Alibec marks his first league match for Steaua by behaving “worse than Pepe” and getting sent off…

Did I say biggest signing? Rivaldo’s son Rivaldinho has just signed for Dinamo Bucharest. He must be amazing at football, right?…

Astra coach Marius Șumudică intends to sue the club after they fined him €45,000 for insulting both Astra’s owner and their rivals Steaua. “Șumi” claims he is the only one at the club who hasn’t been paid his wages, but if he leaves before his contract expires in the summer he will have to pay €150,000!…

Grounds for complaint

Saturday 14th January 2017 should have been a big day for Romanian club rugby. Stade Francais, champions of France in 2015, were coming to Timișoara to play a European Challenge Cup game. The hosts, Timișoara Saracens, are the best (and richest) team in the Romanian game: champions three out of the last four years. The 36-man squad for the national team, announced last week for the forthcoming Rugby Europe Championship fixtures, includes no fewer than sixteen Timișoara Saracens players.

Having qualified for the group stage of the competition by beating Calvisano home and away, the Romanian side struggled badly against the far superior opposition presented by Harlequins, Edinburgh and Stade (away). French teams have often been known for not travelling well and for not taking certain competitions seriously, and in temperatures well below zero on a difficult surface, after several days of snow, a tight-knit, powerful Romanian pack might be expected to cause problems for a second-string Parisian team. This was to be a golden opportunity for the home side to get some points on the board.

Continue reading