Who did what in Canada's Pool D clash with Romania in Leicester.
Romania produced the biggest comeback in Rugby World Cup history to overturn Canada‘s 15-0 lead in the last half-hour of this Pool D clash and win 15-17.
A first-half try by DTH van der Merwe and a penalty from Gordon McRorie gave Canada the lead and they extended that advantage to 15-0 when Jeff Hassler scored a great individual try early in the second half and Nathan Hirayama converted.
But Romania dominated the last half-hour of the match as their pack took control. Skipper and No 8 Mihai Macovei was driven over after a lineout on the left then, with Jebb Sinclair in the sin-bin, Macovei crashed over from the back of a scrum for his second try. Florin Vlaicu converted both and added a match-winning penalty two minutes from time.
So Canada finish their Pool D with just one bonus point to their name, while Romania go on to play Italy on Sunday.
Mihai Macovei – Romania’s skipper scored the two tries which put his team back in the game and led a forward effort which Canada’s pack could not match in the last half-hour. He made the right calls at the right time too, opting for scrums and lineouts from penalties and helping his team turn that pressure into points.
Record breaker – Canada wing DTH van der Merwe scored a try for the fourth World Cup match in succession, and became the only player from a Tier Two nation ever to achieve that feat. He had already crossed in Canada’s matches against France, Ireland and Italy during this tournament. Mention too should go to James Pritchard, who came off the bench for Canada and in doing so reached the landmark of appearing at a fourth World Cup tournament.
Cool pack – They were outgunned at the end, but two brilliant pieces of set-piece work by Canada’s pack saved two almost certain tries during this game. In the first half, having already conceded two scrum penalties, they managed to force one of their own when Romania opted for a scrum from a penalty close to the Canada line. Then, with 62 minutes on the clock Romania had a lineout in the left-hand corner but Canada managed to drive the maul into touch.
Florin Vlaicu – The Romania centre kicked two conversions and the critical, match-winning penalty. He missed two first-half penalties, but both were from beyond the halfway line, so he can be forgiven for that!
Off target – Canada could have won this match if they had landed all their goal-kicks. Gordon McRorie missed two first-half penalties and a conversion, then Nathan Hirayama missed a long second-half penalty, meaning 11 points went begging off the tee in total.
Wasteful Romania – Oaks centre Paula Kinikinilau thought he had scored a try in the 64th minute but play was brought back as he crossed the line for a knock-on by Valentin Poparlan. A few minutes later Csaba Gal charged down a Canadian clearance but then knocked on as he tried to slide for the line with the ball.
Man of the match – This tournament’s system for choosing the Man of the Match is seriously flawed. Nominations are posted on the Rugby World Cup Twitter feed during the last quarter, for the public to vote on, but that means players who make a meaningful contribution in the closing minutes are excluded. It’s much better to let the TV experts make the choice in the last five minutes.
71 – The percentage of territory enjoyed by Romania in the final ten minutes of the match as they got Canada in a stranglehold they couldn’t escape from.
130 – the number of metres Canada full-back Harry Jones made in attack. Jeff Hassler made 125, out of a team total of 497m.
16 – the penalty count at half-time was 7-7 but Canada conceded 16 penalties in all by the final whistle, including nine in their own half, while Romania infringed just ten times in total.
2 – the number of Romania players celebrating their 50th cap in this match, as Valentin Poparlan and Mihaita Lazar both reached that landmark.
Canada: H Jones (J Pritchard 75); J Hassler, C Hearn, N Blevins (C Trainor 49), DTH van der Merwe; N Hirayama, G McRorie (P Mack 49); H Buydens (D Sears-Duru 45-54 and 61), R Barkwill, D Wooldridge (J Ilnicki 67), B Beukeboom, J Cudmore (capt), J Sinclair, J Moonlight (N Dala 62), A Carpenter.
Tries (2): DTH van der Merwe, Jeff Hassler . Con: Nathan Hirayama 1. Pen: Gordon McRorie 1
Yellow card: Jebb Sinclair 71 min
Romania: C Fercu; M Lemnaru, P Kinikinilau, F Vlaicu, I Botezatu; M Wiringi (C Gal 51), F Surugiu (V Calafeteanu 21); M Lazar (A Tarus 74), O Turashvili (A Radoi 65), P Ion (A Ursache 45), V Poparlan, J van Heerden, V Ursache, V Lucaci (D Carpo 76), M Macovei (capt).
Tries (2): Mihai Macovei 2. Cons: Florin Vlaicu 2. Pen: Florin Vlaicu
Yellow card: Catalin Fercu 18 min
Referee: Wayne Barnes (England)
Man of the match: Jeff Hassler