LEICESTER, England (AP) -- Romania produced an inspired second-half performance to rally from 15-point deficit and beat Canada 17-15 in their Rugby World Cup Pool D match on Tuesday, clinching a dramatic victory with a nerveless late penalty from center Florin Vlaicu.
Canada appeared to be in complete control when left winger DTH Van Der Merwe scored late in the first half -- his fourth try of the tournament -- and right winger Jeff Hassler crossed four minutes after halftime.
But Romania's bold decision to forsake penalty kicks for attacking lineouts and scrums paid off as Canada wilted under the incessant pressure of the driving forwards.
Canada played the last eight minutes with a man down after flanker Jebb Sinclair was sin-binned, and paid a serious price for it.
Still, it needed an inspired individual performance to get them going and captain Captain Mihai Macovei delivered it for Romania with two tries, the No. 8 bundling over the line for his second with five minutes left.
Canada's players appealed for a double-movement, but referee Wayne Barnes -- standing close by -- awarded the try after asking for a television referral.
Video replays showed that Macovei had just enough momentum to stick a hand out over the line and Vlaicu -- who had missed his two first-half penalty attempts -- added the extras.
Canada's scrum was penalized in the 78th minute Vlaicu, under immense pressure, nailed his kick cleanly through the posts to send the Romania fans into delirious celebrations.
Romania has four points and can still finish in third place in the group -- assuring automatic qualification for the 2019 World Cup -- if it beats Italy in next weekend's crucial decider.
Canada has played some great attacking rugby at this tournament, but it has also thrown away game-winning positions, having led 10-0 against Italy before losing 23-18.