Romania fight back to edge Canada

Date published: October 6 2015

Romania overturned a 15-point deficit to bag their first win at Rugby World Cup 2015 via a 17-15 victory over Pool D rivals Canada in Leicester on Tuesday.

Having trailed 15-0 early in the second half, Romania launched an impressive comeback, with the power of their forwards turning the tables on a Canadian side that had controlled the game for the first 50 minutes. 

Tries from Canadian wingers DTH van der Merwe and Jeff Hassler either side of half-time looked to have secured the result in a game played in difficult conditions.

But Romanian skipper Mihai Macovei scored twice in the last half hour before Florin Vlaicu slotted a late, long-range penalty to snatch a thrilling win for the Oaks.

The result ends a eight-game RWC losing streak for Romania and leaves Canada to harbour a number of regrets after their narrow loss to Italy earlier in the tournament. 

Heavy rain showers before kick-off and then intermittently during the match made running rugby tricky but Canada's more expansive approach nevertheless paid dividends as they built a handy lead.

Canada led 8-0 at the interval thanks to a well-taken try just before the break from Van der Merwe, who has now scored in four consecutive RWC games. 

Despite the slippery surface the Canucks played with plenty of width with their back three especially prominent, but were met by a well-organised and resolute Romanian defence. 

A soft yellow card for full-back Catalin Fercu after his mid-air collision with Nick Blevins didn't help the Romanian cause. 

The Oaks used their powerful pack as their main weapon but crucially missed out on points after choosing a five-metre scrum only to be penalised. 

Hassler stretched the lead early in the second half with a barnstorming run to score after a break by Nathan Hirayama put Canada on the attack. Hirayama also provided the conversion to give Canada a 15-0 lead.

Romania didn't go down quietly though as a pushover try on the 50-minute mark kept the game alive with Macovei touching down and Florin Vlaicu adding the conversion.

There was late drama to come as Jebb Sinclair was sin-binned for coming into the side of maul and Romania used their extra man to lay the platform for Macovei to break off a wheeling scrum, stretching out an arm to score. 

Vlaicu hit the conversion to cut the gap to single point and set up a grandstand finish.

Cruelly for Canada, long-time servant and skipper Jamie Cudmore was the man to give away the penalty that would cost them victory, as Vlaicu hit the target from 45 metres out in the 78th minute.

Man of the match: Having scored both his team's tries, captain Mihai Macovei has to get the gong as he continued his impressive form in the World Cup.

Moment of the match: It wasn't an easy kick, but Florin Vlaicu help his nerve to slot the winner after a couple of earlier misses. 

Villain of the match: Nothing rough enough to mention.

The scorers:

For Canada:
Tries: Van der Merwe, Hassler
Con: Hirayama
Pen: McRorie
Yellow Card: Sinclair

For Romania:
Tries: Macovei 2
Cons: Vlaicu 2
Pen: Vlaicu
Yellow Card: Fercu

Canada: 15 Harry Jones, 14 Jeff Hassler, 13 Ciaran Hearn, 12 Nick Blevins, 11 DTH van der Merwe, 10 Nathan Hirayama, 9 Gordon McRorie, 8 Aaron Carpenter, 7 John Moonlight, 6 Jebb Sinclair, 5 Jamie Cudmore (c), 4 Brett Beukeboom, 3 Doug Wooldridge, 2 Ray Barkwill, 1 Hubert Buydens.
Replacements: 16 Benoit Piffero, 17 Djustice Sears-Duru, 18 Jake Ilnicki, 19 Kyle Gilmour, 20 Nanyak Dala, 21 Phil Mack, 22 Conor Trainor, 23 James Pritchard

Romania: 15 Catalin Fercu, 14 Madalin Lemnaru, 13 Paula Kinikinilau, 12 Florin Vlaicu, 11 Ionut Botezatu, 10 Michael Wiringi, 9 Florin Surugiu, 8 Mihai Macovei (c), 7 Viorel Lucaci, 6 Valentin Ursache, 5 Johannes van Heerden, 4 Valentin Poparlan, 3 Paulica Ion, 2 Otar Turashvili, 1 Mihaita Lazar.
Replacements: 16 Andrei Radoi, 17 Andrei Ursache, 18 Alexandru Tarus, 19 Daniel Carpo, 20 Stelian Burcea, 21 Valentin Calafeteanu, 22 Adrian Apostol, 23 Csaba Gal.

Referee: Wayne Barnes (England)
Assistant Referees: Glen Jackson (New Zealand),  Marius Mitrea (Italy)
TMO: Ben Skeen (New Zealand)