Canada 15-17 Romania: Vlaicu penalty completes stunning Oaks comeback
- Florin Vlaicu kicks penalty with three minutes remaining to complete stunning Romania fightback
- Canada’s DTH Van der Merwe becomes the first player from a non-Tier One Nation to score in 4 consecutive Rugby World Cup games
- Jeff Hassler touches down the Canucks only other try three minutes after the break
- Mihai Macovei crosses twice for the Oaks in the second half
Romania scored 17 points in the final 28 minutes to complete a fairytale comeback with all-time top-scorer Florin Vlaicu striking the crucial penalty three minutes from time to secure a narrow 17-15 win against Canada at the Leicester City Stadium.
Winger DTH Van der Merwe made World Cup history for Canada in the first half by scoring his fourth try in four games. This stat made the 29-year-old the first player from a non-Tier One Nation to touch down in four consecutive Rugby World Cup games, but it was in vein following Romania’s late revival.
The defeat means the Canucks finish bottom of Pool D while Romania could still finish third if they beat Italy this weekend, which would guarantee the Oaks a place at the next installment of the competition in 2019.
Canada got off to a good start when Gordon McRorie stepped up after 10 minutes to strike the ball clean from the tee between the posts before just after the half hour Van der Merwe opened the try scoring.
The winger received the ball out wide before, with a shuffle of the hips, he glided through an attempted tackle to reach over and ground the ball on the line. McRorie’s attempted conversion though went just wide and that was how things stayed at half time, 8-0.
Three minutes after the break Canada stretched their lead further when dominant wing Jeff Hassler bounced off defenders before wrestling his way over the line. Nathan Hirayama then converted from in front of the posts, 15-0.
Romania then finally got on the scoreboard when Mihai Macovei touched down after 53 minutes. The Oaks formed their traditional rolling maul, forcing Canada right back before the big number eight pushed the ball down. Vlaicu added the extras to reduce the deficit to eight points.
Things then went from bad to worse for Canada as they lost Jebb Sinclair to the sin-bin after 65 minutes before they had their lead reduced to just one point when Macovei crossed for his second try, with Vlaicu adding the two points, 15-14.
And the comeback was complete three minutes from time when Vlaicu smashed a penalty between the posts to give the Romanians a slender two point lead. The Oaks then held onto the ball until the full-time whistle before celebrating the win in style.
Man of the Match- DTH Van der Merwe
Despite being on the losing team, the wing-wizard added to his fine try-scoring tally with an intense burst through to touch down Canada’s opening try in the corner. As a result he moved up to second top try scorer in the tournament while also becoming just the second player to score in every pool game of a World Cup together with Wales legend Shane Williams, who did it in 2007. His performances throughout this Rugby World Cup will without doubt made his country proud despite the bitter disappointment of them losing all four games
Canada: Jones, Hassler, Hearn, Blevins, van der Merwe, Hirayama, McRorie, Buydens, Barkwill, Wooldridge, Beukeboom, Cudmore, Sinclair, Moonlight, Carpenter.
Replacements: Pritchard for Jones (74), Trainor for Blevins (49), Mack for McRorie (49), Sears-Duru for Buydens (45), Ilnicki for Wooldridge (67), Dala for Moonlight (63).
Not Used: Piffero, Gilmour.
Sin Bin: Sinclair (73).
Romania: Fercu, Lemnaru, Kinikinilau, Vlaicu, Botezatu, Wiringi, Surugiu, Lazar, Turashvili, Ion, Popirlan, van Heerden, V. Ursache, Lucaci, Macovei.
Replacements: Gal for Wiringi (51), Calafeteanu for Surugiu (22), Tarus for Lazar (74), Radoi for Turashvili (65), A. Ursache for Ion (45), Carpo for Lucaci (77).