Friday, 14 March 2014

Team News: ENC 1A March 15


Team news for the final round of ENC 1A matches including the crucial Grand Slam title deciding match between Georgia and Romania.

 Georgia v Romania  
Venue: Mikheil Meskhi Stadium, Tbilisi
Kickoff: 17:00 (local time), 15:00 (Bucharest), 13:00 (GMT).

For Georgia: After resting half the team for the trip to Spain, as expected the side is bolstered by returning names for a game that if Georgia win they will have won their 4th ENC title in a row and first Grand Slam since 2011. Nariashvili and Zirakashvili are back in the front row, Kolelishvili and Basilaia are back in the back row, Datunashvili is back at lock, Begadze at scrum half and Kacharava at centre.

Jaba Bregvadze has managed to work his way back ahead of Shalva Mamukashvili, the pair seem to be fighting a very tight battle for the jersey. Anton Peikrishvili also finds his way onto the bench ahead of Zura Zhvania after an impressive stint from the bench last weekend.

A player rather less impressive last week though was Merab Kvirikashvili, he retains his place in the side but it must surely by the skin of his teeth. If he mucks up yet again then Haig will simply have to look at the alternatives.

Starting XV: 15 Merab Kvirikashvili; 14 Irakli Machkhaneli (c), 13 Davit Kacharava, 12 Merab Sharikadze, 11 Tamaz Mchedlidze; 10 Lasha Khmaladze, 9 Giorgi Begadze; 1 Mikheil Nariashvili, 2 Jaba Bregvadze, 3 Davit Zirakashvili; 4 Kote Mikautadze, 5 Levan Datunashvili; 6 Vito Kolelishvili, 7 Mamuka Gorgodze, 8 Dimitri Basilaia.
Replacements: 16 Shalva Mamukashvili, 17 Anton Peikrishvili, 18 Levan Chilachava; 19 Giorgi Nemsadze, 20 Giorgi Chkhaidze; 21 Vazha Khutsishvili, 22 Tedo Zibzibadze, 23 Lasha Malaguradze.

For Romania: The Oaks are like Georgia unbeaten over their ENC campaign and success in this game will mean a lot as they haven't completed the ENC Grand Slam for 11 years or won the title at all since 2010. Star player Cătălin Fercu, captain Mihai Macovei and hooker Andrei Rădoi all return to the starting XV after being rested against Belgium.

Surprisingly though, Lynn Howells has decided to make extra tweaks to the backline. Valentin Calafeteanu shifts from fly half back to his natural position of scrum half, Florin Vlaicu shifts to fly half and Robert Dascãlu comes in at 12. Florin Surugiu is dropped after starting all 4 matches of the ENC as the 9-10-12 combination returns to the one that faced Fiji in November.

Notably on the bench, Andrei Ursache returns from club duty to take a spot ahead of young Constantin Pristăviță. His brother Valentin Ursache meanwhile, is making his return after over 2 months of injury this weekend with Oyonnax not with the Oaks.

Starting XV: 15 Cătălin Fercu; 14 Mădălin Lemnaru, 13 Csaba Gál, 12 Robert Dascãlu, 11 Ionuț Dumitru; 10 Florin Vlaicu, 9 Valentin Calafeteanu; 1 Mihai Lazăr, 2 Andrei Rădoi, 3 Paulică Ion; 4 Marius Sirbe, 5 Valentin Popîrlan; 6 Viorel Lucaci, 7 Mihai Macovei (c), 8 Stelian Burcea.
Replacements: 16 Eugen Căpăţână, 17 Andrei Ursache, 18 Horaţiu Pungea; 19 Cristian Munteanu, 20 Vlad Nistor; 21 Dorin Manole, 22 Florin Surugiu, 23 Cristian Diniş.

Belgium Belgium v Russia
Venue: Stade Roi Baudouin, Brussels

For Belgium: For their last ENC 1A game, Belgium have made 4 changes. Mika de Molder comes into the side in place of Cyril Nana, Thomas de Molder shifts to 8 and Mathieu Verschelden to lock. Prop Alexis Cuffolo swaps with Julien Massimi, and in the backs Guillaume Brébant comes in for Eliott van Trappen.

Starting XV: 15 Alan Williams; 14 Dirk Haghedooren, 13 Guillaume Brébant, 12 Guillaume Piron, 11 Savenaca Vocea; 10 Sylvain Roos, 9 Hendrik Brouwers; 1 Julien Massimi, 2 Thomas Dienst, 3 Alain Miriallakis; 4 Mathieu Verschelden, 5 Pierre Hendrickx; 6 Andrew Neill, 7 Mika de Molder, 8 Thomas de Molder.
Replacements: 16 Martin Bonnel, 17 Alexis Cuffolo, 18 Anthony Scozzari; 19 Cyril Nana, 20 Denis Eppe, 21 Julien Morelli; 22 Sébastien Guns, 23 Chris Brown.

For Russia: With their 3rd place spot confirmed, Russia have nothing to play for than pride in their trip to Belgium. There are five changes to the side that played Portugal, as the front row rotates around again with Grigory Tsnobiladze and Andrei Igretsov swapping with Alexei Volkov and Innokenty Zykov. Curiously Russia have 3 props on the bench for this game with Magomed Davudov from Dagestan in line to make his debut.

The other changes are Sergey Sugrobov ahead of the concussed Yury Kushnarev and the captain Alexander Voytov returning from an injury ahead of Andrei Ostrikov and Andrei Otrokov returning ahead of Igor Galinovskiy.

Starting XV: 15 Vasily Artemyev; 14 Vladimir Ostroushko, 13 Dimitri Gerasimov, 12 Alexei Makovetskiy, 11 Andrei Otrokov; 10 Sergey Sugrobov, 9 Alexander Yanyushkin; 1 Grigory Tsnobiladze, 2 Valery Tsnobiladze, 3 Andrei Igretsov; 4 Alexander Voytov (c), 5 Kirill Kulemin; 6 Pavel Butenko, 7 Andrei Garbuzov, 8 Andrei Temnov.
Replacements: 16 Vladislav Korshunov, 17 Alexei Volkov, 18 Magomed Davudov, 19 Innokenty Zykov; 20 Pavel Kvernadze, 21 Alexandr Khudyakov; 22 Anton Ryabov, 23 Sergey Yanyushkin.

 Portugal v Spain
Venue: Estádio Universitário de Lisboa, Lisbon
Kickoff: 17:00 (local time/GMT), 18:00 (Madrid)

For Portugal: The Iberian derby is essentially a playoff for fourth this year and Portugal have made 3 changes from their loss to Russia.

Gonçalo Uva has returned to his club Narbonne so Rui d'Orey takes his place, centre José Lima also is making a return from injury at the same club. Emmanuel Rebelo and Cristian Spachuk also drop out of the side to be replaced by Franciso Pinto Magalhães and Bruno Rocha respectively.

On the bench there is a return for veteran Pedro Leal, for ages a mainstay at the Lobos he has been absent for the entire ENC campaign up until now. João Diogo Silva could also potentially make his international debut.

Starting XV: 15 Nuno Penha e Costa; 14 Gonçalo Foro, 13 Pedro Ávila, 12 Carl Murray, 11 António Aguilar; 10 Diogo Miranda, 9 Francisco Pinto Magalhães; 1 Jorge Seguardo, 2 João Correia (c), 3 Bruno Rocha; 4 Eric Santos, 5 Rui d'Orey; 6 Kevin da Costa, 7 Julien Bardy, 8 Vasco Uva.
Replacements: 16 Bruno Medeiros, 17 Francisco Tavares, 18 João Almeida; 19 Fernando Almeida, 20 Vasco Fragoso Mendes; 21 Luís Salema, 22 Pedro Leal, 23 João Diogo Silva.

For Spain: Yet again Spain have made numerous changes and have altered half their lineup for their trip to Lisbon to play the Iberian derby. The entire back three from the game against Georgia is gone, as is Guillaume Rouet at scrum half. In their place César Sempere shifts back to full back, Matías Tudela makes his first start of the tournament and Ignacio Contardi, Javier Canosa and captain Pablo Feijóo return from the Romania game.

In the pack, the front 5 is also much changed. Props Franck Labbe and Jesus Moreno depart, Beñat Auzqui moves to loosehead prop and Marco Pinto and Francisco Sanz to the starting lineup.

There are some curious selections on the bench. 37 year old prop Javier Salazar returns for the first time since 2009, Juan Cano returns for the first time since 2011, Jaike Carter and Igor Genua return after not featuring all year. If all the bench is used then Spain will have used a whopping 44 players over the course of this year's tournament.

Starting XV: 15 César Sempere; 14 Ignacio Contardi, 13 Daniel Snee, 12 Javier Canosa, 11 Matías Tudela; 10 Charly Malié, 9 Pablo Feijóo (c); 1 Beñat Auzqui, 2 Marco Pinto, 3 Francisco Sanz; 4 David Barrera, 5 Aníbal Bonán; 6 Gautier Gibouin, 7 Matt Cook, 8 Federico Negrillo.
Replacements: 16 Ion Insausti, 17 Juan Anaya; 18 Mathieu Roca, 19 Alejandro Blanco; 20 Igor Genua, 21 Jaike Carter, 22 Juan Cano; 23 Javier Salazar.

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