Timisoara Saracens kick-off The 2017 King’s Cup pre-season competition with a home victory



Timisoara Saracens, Romania’s Champions and their guests, Steaua Bucharest, put on a rugby show on Dan Paltinisanu in the first round of the 2107 King’s Cup, organized during the 2017/18 pre-season.


Both on their first game of the pre-season, the opponent teams stepped on the pitch with the intention of practicing their new game tactics and they both succeeded offering the viewers an exciting match, with spectacular balance leanings.


Just a few minutes into the first half, following the hosts’ being penalized for not releasing the tackled, the guests took advantage of their opportunity and opened the score. Tudor Boldor converted the penalty kick from almost 45 m and the score board showed 0 – 3 for Steaua.


10 minutes later, after constant Timisoara Saracens pressure in Steaua’s half, Catalin Fercu received Stefano Hunt’s short pass and found the gap into the guests’ defence line to finalize with a centre field try the 14 phases of game developed by the team starting from the lineout formed inside Steaua’s 22. The conversion was a mere formality for Gabriel Conache and the Sarries took over the lead by 7 – 3.


In the next few minutes both teams disputed the possession and while the guests didn’t succeed in breaking the hosts’ defence, Timisoara Saracens surprised Steaua with an inspired turnover from skipper Vasile Rus, who dashed and saved the ball from a Steaua scrum 20 metres short from the hosts in goal. Centre John Leiataua gained possession, rushed into the guests’ half, but the cross kick sent the ball outside the pitch before it could be recovered by Timisoara’s chasers.


However it didn’t take long for Timisoara Saracens’ backs to turn their forwards 25 metres lineout into a three phases try scored by John Leiataua on his debut for the black and red team. Randall Morrison jumped into the lineout, passed the ball to Gabi Conache, who found fly-half Stefano Hunt. The fly-half cross passed to winger Fonovai Tangimana, who launched John Leiataua towards a second centre field try. Once again, Gabi Conache fulfilled his role and converted the try to help Timisoara Saracens widen the gap at 14 – 3 in min 25.


The score board remained unchanged until the end of the first half, the guests managing to push back Timisoara only once, getting very close to scoring their first try, but Fonovai Tangimana tackled to save the day, two metres short of the whitewash. Steaua never made it past their scrum awarded on Timisoara Saracens’ 5 metres line, as the scrum pass was intercepted by Stefano Hunt, who launched flanker James Doyle out the danger zone. After a few metres race, Doyle surprisingly kicked the ball past mid field where wingers Valdut Zaharia and Robert Neagu followed in pursuit. The dispute over the ball ended eventually with Zaharia being yellow carded for shoving his opponent.

Halftime score: Timisoara Saracens 14 – 3 Steaua Bucharest


Timisoara Saracens started the second half in 14 men and after a few unsuccessful attacks, Steaua managed to insure the higher numbers on the right side and fly half Tudor Boldor scored their first try. He missed his conversion and the score board showed 14 – 8 in favour of the hosts.


Steaua didn’t manage to break the guests’ defence for a second time, but added yet another 3 points to their account with a penalty kick awarded for throw in not straight at scrum. The guests got closer at 14 – 11, approximately 15 minutes into the second half.


About 5 minutes and two yellow cards later, seen by Fonovai Tangimana and Steaua’s centre Ionita Florin for an altercation, Timisoara Saracens’ forwards turned over Steaua’s scrum, captain Vasile Rus gathered the ball, changed direction, found fly half Stefano Hunt who passed it on to Conache. The ball reached Fercu’s arms, who launched himself towards the whitewash to derail the defender and left it to John Leiataua to drive over the in-goal line, remained entirely uncovered. Conache missed the conversion by a few centimeters, nevertheless, Timisoara Saracens increased their gap at 19 – 11.


The last try of the match belonged to the guests and was signed Ionut Melinte who received the ball from the guests’ scrum half after a mid-field lineout, he kicked it between the hosts’ defenders and retrieved it after a few metres race, managing to escape his followers and to carry the ball over the whitewash. The kicker missed his conversion, but Steaua got closer once again, at 19 – 16.


However, the last points of the match were signed Timisoara Saracens and were added to into hosts’ account by Gabriel Conache following a converted 30 m penalty kick, the lions gaining thus their first victory of the pre-season domestic competition The King’s Cup.


Full time: Timisoara Saracens 22 – 16 Steaua Bucharest


Timișoara Saracens:

15. Cătălin Fercu; 14. Fonovai Tangimana; 13. Tevita Manumua; 12. John Leiataua; 11. Vlăduț Zaharia; 10. Stefano Hunt; 9. Gabriel Conache; 1. Sione Taupaki; 2. Andrei Rădoi; 3. Samuel Mariș; 4. Valentin Popârlan; 5. Daniel Ianuș; 6. James Doyle; 7. Vasile Rus (C); 8. Randall Morrison.


16. Marian Sabău; 17. Ionel Badiu; 18. Sione Halalilo; 19. Vlad Neculau; 20. Michael Stewart; 21. Gabriel Rupanu; 22. Florin Popa; 23. Marius Simionescu.

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