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Romania's front row, if it's the same one that lost to Japan November 10, of Petru Tamba, Otar Turashvili and Horatiu Pungea is wide, hefty, and strong. Their second row of Marius Sirbe and Valentina Ursache are big, too. They win through power, and were defeated by Japan through speed and technique.



Despite Romania having the ascendancy in tight, especially in the scrums and mauls, Japan won, and even got a penalty try on a maul. They did this by getting lower, being smart about drive direction, and, when the game was played out wide, keeping the ball moving.

The Eagles, who will have a more mobile pack, especially among their props and with Todd Clever in the back row, and who have some speedsters out wide, will want the game to go from sideline to sideline.

Taku Ngwenya is expected to suit up for the Eagles for the first time in over a year, and even if he doesn't have his best game, he and shifty Luke Hume will command attention from outside Romania backs such as Madalin Lemnaru, Ionut Botezatu, and Catalin Fercu.

That could free up holes in the midfield.

With flyhalf Toby L'Estrange getting more comfortable, and with three exciting midfielders in Andrew and Roland Suniula, and Paul Emerick, and with Hume, Ngwenya, and Chris Wyles ready to play, the US backline is explosive.

The Americans will want to get quick ball, and they have to be happy with referee Leighton Hughes, who reffed their game against Russia and worked hard to ensure an open game.

But it all depends on the forwards. Look for the Americans to try to move the point of contact at every opportunity. They want the Oaks forwards to run, and that means using the backs and getting the Eagle forwards to the breakdown, and it means avoiding contact at times, offloading out of the tackle or quick offloads before the tackle.

If it all works well, the Romanian forwards will tire, and gaps will eventually open up. This could be a day when the USA points come in the second half.

The USA selections in the forwards aren't expected to be too different, but with Brian Doyle out they need to ensure their best combination of pushers in the second row. That could well mean Scott LaValla moves in from flanker to lock, and Inaki Basauri could go in at #6. John Quill could well be the openside flanker, but he's not a really big player, and Coach Mike Tolkin could go for size there if he's concerned about a push from everyone in the pack; he could go for Peter Dahl.

In the end that combination means the Eagles will have seven loose forwards in the pack, counting props Shawn Pittman (No. 8 for USA U19s) and Eric Fry (#6 for much of his time at Cal and for All Americans), and with Lou Stanfill and LaValla in the second row.

They should still be able to push, but their real strength will be in the lineout, where the Eagles have been very strong, and phase play.