Danielli double prevents Scottish blues
Scotland escaped suffering an embarrassing shock on the opening weekend of the World Cup to Romania but only thanks to two late Simon Danielli tries, as the Scots claimed a 34-24 Pool B win over the Oaks.
The powerful winger struck twice in the final five minutes to save Scotland from a disastrous defeat at Invercargill's Rugby Park Stadium on Saturday.
It was a cruel finale for Romania after the Oaks looked on course to secure an historic draw with the scores locked at 24-24 after 75 minutes.
Tries from Mihaita Lazar and Daniel Carpo either side of half-time even hinted at what would have been a second Rugby World Cup victory for the eastern Europeans.
But after early tries by Mike Blair and Joe Ansbro, Max Evans twice broke free from defence to set up a brace of tries from distance for his fellow wing that clinched a bonus point victory for Scotland in Pool B.
"I am disappointed with some aspects of our game, but we got the win and we got the bonus point. We have an awful lot to work on, but we will get there," said Scotland skipper Alastair Kellock.
There was little to suggest what was to come when Scotland took less than two minutes to open their World Cup account through the boot of Paterson, setting a national record with his appearance at a fourth finals.
Ansbro ensured the Scots capitalised on an impressive start when he combined with Danielli, before scrumhalf Blair stepped past the last defender to score his team's first try of the campaign in style in the seventh minute.
Paterson scuffed the conversion after the ball toppled from the kicking tee as he connected with his right boot before opposite number Marin Dumbrava, who missed with his first attempt, cut the lead to Romania opening points of the tournament after 12 minutes.
Scotland showed ambition and Ansbro capped a lively display with a well-taken try on 20 minutes, converted by Paterson.
Dumbrava struck a second penalty to keep Romania in touch, as his forwards seized the initiative, but the flyhalf failed to make the most of the possession with another miss.
Paterson looked to have steadied the ship with another penalty only for Aix-en-Provence prop Lazar to lift Romanian spirits, touching down from a driving lineout on the stroke of half-time.
That showed in their defence as Paterson and Dumbrava traded penalties, before Romania stepped up again up front to pin Scotland against the ropes.
Tiberius Dimofte kicked a penalty and added the conversion after No.8 Carpo drove off the back of a powerful scrum to hand Romania the lead in the 66th minute.
Paterson equalised moments later before Danielli's late double denied the tournament an early shock.
Man of the Match: Inspirational Romanian skipper Marius Tincu is an obvious candidate - his leadership and powerful showing up front very nearly helping his team to what would have been an incredible victory. However, the match-winner - in the end - was Scotland try-hero Simon Danielli, who not only scored two crucial tries but also looked very dangerous on the rare occasions he touched the ball.
Moment of the Match: Danielli's first try in the 75th minute. It came from a superb Richie Vernon tip-toe down the left-hand touchline and it all but secured the victory for the Scots who showed good composure despite being up against it at that stage.
Villain of the Match: Perhaps we're being harsh here... but how the heck could a man of Chris Paterson's stature fluff a conversion like that (in the seventh minute), from right in front? At 24-24 - and with time running out - it could easily have cost his team, but it proves just how cruel this game of rugby union can be.
Tries: Blair, Ansbro, Danielli 2
Pens: Paterson 4
Tries: Lazar, Carpo
Pens: Dumbrava 2, Dimofte 2
Scotland: 15 Chris Paterson, 14 Max Evans, 13 Joe Ansbro, 12 Sean Lamont, 11 Simon Danielli, 10 Ruaridh Jackson, 9 Mike Blair, 8 Richie Vernon, 7 John Barclay, 6 Kelly Brown, 5 Alastair Kellock (captain), 4 Richie Gray, 3 Geoff Cross, 2 Ross Ford, 1 Allan Jacobsen
Replacements: 16 Scott Lawson, 17 Alasdair Dickinson, 18 Nathan Hines, 19 Ross Rennie, 20 Chris Cusiter, 21 Dan Parks, 22 Rory Lamont.
Romania: 15 Iulian Dumitras, 14 Stefan Ciuntu, 13 Csaba Gal, 12 Tiberius Dimofte, 11 Madalin Lemnaru, 10 Marin Dumbrava, 9 Lucian Sirbu, 8 Daniel Carpo, 7 Ovidiu Tonita, 6 Mihai Macovei, 5 Cristian Petre, 4 Valentin Ursache, 3 Paulica Ion, 2 Marius Tincu (captain), 1 Mihaita Lazar.
Replacements: 16 Bogdan Zebega Suman, 17 Silviu Florea, 18 Valentin Poparlan, 19 Sandu Burcea, 20 Florin Surugiu, 21 Ionel Cazan, 22 Florin Vlaicu.
Referee: Dave Pearson (England)
Assistant referees: Vinny Munro (New Zealand), Tim Hayes (Wales)
TMO: Shaun Veldsman (South Africa)