Thursday, 10 April 2014

Romania set to field more foreign players in the near future


FRR president Alin Petrache has confirmed that Romania are thinking of selecting more players who become available through qualifying through the 3 year residency rule.

At the 2011 World Cup 17 of the 20 teams at the tournament had players born outside their nation of birth, plenty of whom qualified through the 3 year residency rule. The 3 nations that had players born entirely in their home country were Argentina, Georgia and Romania. In 2015 it looks set to be just two nations as the Romania are set to tread further down the path of adding more players from abroad.

Since 2012 they have already fielded Georgian hooker Otar Turashvili and English winger of Romanian descent Stephen Hihetah. Neither remain in the squad, but their appears to be a more substantial wave of players likely to join the team between now and the World Cup. No names specifically were mentioned by FRR president Alin Petrache, but he confirmed coach Lynn Howells is looking at certain individuals who soon qualify via residency of 3 years playing in the SuperLiga and there are good guesses as to who those players might be.
Mike Wiringi

Kiwi fly half Mike Wiringi and South African lock Johan van Heerden both of Baia Mare, plus Tongan born centre Paula Kinikinilau of Timisoara all are being sounded out. The FRR already featured them in their Bucharest Wolves team this year as an attempt to integrate them. The rise of foreigners in the SuperLiga is just starting to take effect.

Foreigners coming into national teams has been controversial in the past, but it's becoming an increasingly used tactic and becoming ever more deliberately used. Ireland have a "project player" scheme which is about to get them Jared Payne. Scotland also have got Tim Visser and are getting Josh Strauss and WP Nel in time for the World Cup.

There will inevitably be objections to Romania having more foreigners as they have next to none in the past. But when teams already with significant advantages over Romania are making use of the rules, it would be silly to dismiss the idea of foreigners that improve the team.
Paula Kinikinilau

Romania have struggled to settle on a fly half since the World Cup, Wiringi who is one of the top scorers in the SuperLiga will there is a very good chance he could slot in there. Centre is another position where there are a lack of options so Paula Kinikinilau also stands a good chance of collecting caps. On the otherhand van Heerden will have much stiffer competition to make the side at lock.

There has been a lack of young talent breaking through in the Oaks team and their junior sides have been really struggling for the last few years. With that in mind and the increase in foreigners and investment in the SuperLiga over the past 2 or 3 years, there could be more options becoming eligible after the World Cup as well. They might not all necessarily be of use, but provided there isn't a backlash against the selection of them, some could prove handy to fill a few gaps in the side.

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