All square in Montevideo
All square in MontevideoSHARE
A late penalty gave Uruguay a 21-all draw with Romania in their World Cup qualifier in Montevideo on Saturday.
That means that whoever wins the second leg – in Bucharest in a fortnight’s time – will go to New Zealand for the World Cup next year.
Romania could have won at the death, but for a knock-on.
The result keeps Uruguay’s hopes alive, but not as alive as Romania’s must be as they head home to prepare for their trip to New Zealand.
They have been to every World Cup since the inaugural one in New Zealand in 1987. The team which qualifies this time will be the 20th and last to qualify for New Zealand 2011.
On a beautiful day there were 10 000 people to watch the match at Charrúa Stadium, 10 000 people noisy in the support of Los Teros.
The bigger Oaks dominated the first half and led 14-5 at the break. Uruguay lost experienced Nicolás Brignoni from their pack inside the first ten minutes.
Flyhalf Dan Dumbrava opened the scoring with a penalty goal and then kicked two more before left wing Ignacio Mieres scored a try for the home side on the right wing.
However, the Romanians were not to be outdone and experienced No.8 Alexandru Manta scored a try on the stroke of half-time as the Oaks bashed at the Uruguayan line.
The Uruguayans scored first in the second half through two penalties by flyhalf Matías Arocena, who was back from a long injury.
Romania reinforced their domination when prop Bogdan Balan scored a try which Dumbrava converted from touch. The visitors led 21-11.
After veteran prop Pablo Lemoine burst from a line-out the Teros went wide for a try in the corner by Juan De Freitas, which Arocena converted from touch. 21-18 with 17 minutes to play.
With little time to go Arocena kicked the penalty which locked up the scores.
Just before the end the Oaks attacked and looked set to score till Catalan Fercu knocked on.
Tries: Mieres, de Freitas
Pens: Arocena 3
Tries: Manta, Balan
Pens: Dumbrava 3
Uruguay: 15 Ivo Dugonjic, 14 Leandro Leivas, 13 Martín Crosa, 12 Juan De Freitas, 11 Gastón Mieres, 10 Matías Arocena, 9 Manuel Martínez, 8 Santiago Vilaseca, 7 Nicolás Brignoni, 6 Mathias Braun, 5 Diego Magno, 4 Matias Fonseca, 3 Mario Sagario, 2 Carlos Arboleya (captain), 1 Alejo Corral.
Replacements: 16 Juan Pedro Rombys, 17 Martín Espiga, 18 Pablo Lemoine, 19 Juan Ignacio Tabárez, 20 Juan Manuel Gaminara, 21 Emiliano Caffera, 22 Nicolás Morales.
Romania: 15 Vlaicu Florin, 14 Fercu Catalin, 13 Gal Csaba, 12 Dimofte Ionut, 11 Lemnaru Madalin, 10 Dumbrava Danut, 9 Lucian Sirbu, 8 Manta Alexandru, 7 Tonita Ovidiu, 6 Burcea Stelian, 5 Ursache Valentin, 4 Socol Sorin (C), 3 Dima Dragos, 2 Tincu Marius, 1 Balan Bogdan.
Replacements: 16 Popescu Cezar, 17 Radoi Andrei, 18 Lazar Mihai, 19 Cristian Petre, 20 Carpo Daniel, 21 Calafeteanu Valentin, 22 Dumitras Iulian.
Referee: Mark Lawrence (South Africa)