Ovidiu Tonița

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"Toniţa" redirects here. For the painter, see Nicolae Tonitza.
Ovidiu Toniţa
Ovidiu Tonita 2011.jpg
Georgia vs Romania at 2011 Rugby World Cup
Date of birth (1980-08-06) 6 August 1980 (age 36)
Place of birth Bârlad, Romania
Height 1.95 m (6 ft 5 in)
Weight 109 kg (17 st 2 lb)
Rugby union career
Position(s) Flanker
Senior career
Years Team Apps (Points)
Correct as of 27 August 2015
National team(s)
Years Team Apps (Points)
2000- Romania 72 ((70))
Correct as of 27 September 2015

Ovidiu Toniţa (born August 6, 1980) is a Romanian rugby union footballer. A former lock and presently a flanker and number 8, he plays for the French side Provence and for the Romanian national team. He played the majority of his career for USA Perpignan. He is noted for his size, which is considered unusual for his position on the field.[1][2][3] His supporters are known to have compared him to the Australian footballer John Eales,[2] and he is often seen as Romania's key player.[2][4][5]

Born in Bârlad, Toniţa worked as a soft drinks distributor for The Coca-Cola Company from age 15, and played rugby as an amateur in his native country.[3] He moved to France, where he played in the Top 14, originally for FC Grenoble (2001–2002), and later for Biarritz Olympique (2002–2004).[2][6]

In 1999, at the age of 19, he made his international debut as a reserve for the Romanian national team, being one of the youngest players at the 1999 Rugby World Cup.[3][7] His test debut was against Morocco national team in 2000.[1][3] He won his first 14 caps as a lock, and established himself as a flanker after moving to Perpignan.[1]

He was included in Romania's squad at the 2003 Rugby World Cup. He was injured for three months in early 2005[8] and took part in the 2007 Rugby World Cup, where he was Romania's vice-captain.[3] During the latter event, as Romania prepared to face the Scotland, Toniţa was deemed "perhaps (Romania's) one world-class player" in a Scotsman article.[9] An analysis of the Romanian squad, published by The West Australian, noted that Toniţa "is a class act in the scrum", while arguing that, given Romania's poor results: "The sad thing for him is that he is playing with the wrong generation of players."[10] He also competed at the 2011 and 2015 Rugby World Cups. In a testimony to both the length of his top-level career and his country's lack of World Cup success, Toniţa set a new record at the 2015 World Cup by participating in his 12th losing World Cup match, surpassing the previous record of 11 held by his countryman Romeo Gontineac and Namibian Hugo Horn.[11]


  1. ^ a b c Ovidiu Toniţa at Planet Rugby; retrieved September 19, 2007
  2. ^ a b c d Romania Country Profile at Planet Rugby; retrieved September 19, 2007
  3. ^ a b c d e (Romanian) Radu Constantin, "Ovidiu Toniţa: 'Autobuzul din Carpaţi' ", at Rugby.ro; retrieved September 19, 2007
  4. ^ "Prop Balan makes Romanian squad", at BBC Sport; retrieved September 19, 2007
  5. ^ David Ferguson, "Party Time Is Over as Skipper Socol Vows to Avenge November Loss", in The Scotsman, September 18, 2007; retrieved September 19, 2007
  6. ^ (French) "Rugby: la fiche de Ovidiu Toniţa", at L'Équipe; retrieved September 19, 2007
  7. ^ Romania squad for World Cup 2003 at Rugby.ro; retrieved September 19, 2007
  8. ^ (Romanian) "Ovidiu Toniţa accidentat trei luni", at Netsport.ro; retrieved September 19, 2007
  9. ^ David Ferguson, "Sorin Ready to Soc It to the Scots at Murrayfield", in The Scotsman, September 14, 2007; retrieved September 19, 2007
  10. ^ "Rugby Union. Rugby World Cup 07. Pool C", in The West Australian; retrieved September 19, 2007
  11. ^ "Player Records: Overall figures, Rugby World Cup, lost match". ESPN (UK). 31 October 2015. Retrieved 31 October 2015.  Note that six other players, apart from those named in the main text, reached 11 losing matches in the 2015 World Cup.

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