Italy booked their place at the 2019 Rugby World Cup with a 32-22 victory over Romania in their final group game, although they had to withstand a second-half comeback at Sandy Park.
This effort in the corner from Adrian Apostol in the final couple of minutes was one of three second-half tries from the minnows as they battled back from a 22-3 deficit at half time.
The Azzurri made the most of Johannes van Heerden’s 15th-minute yellow card to storm ahead. Tommaso Allan contributed 12 points while Leonardo Sarto and Edoardo Gori also crossed the line.
Alessandro Zanni went over for Italy soon after the restart, but Romania bowed out with a bang as Apostol went over either side of Valentin Popirlan’s score in an impressive late rally.
Defeats to France and Ireland mean that Italy are still yet to qualify for the quarter-finals of a World Cup, but they will get another chance at Japan 2019 courtesy of their third-place finish in Pool D.
Romania finish fourth after their memorable victory over bottom-side Canada last week. Their 129 points conceded and 60 points scored marks their best record at the tournament since 1999.
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