BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — Hirotoki Onozawa scored his 52nd try in 75 tests four minutes from time to secure Japan's 34-23 win over Romania on Saturday in the opener of its four-match tour of Europe.
Both sides conceded penalty tries in a three-minute span, Romania deliberately collapsing a maul, and Japan collapsing a scrum, to leave Japan leading by one with eight minutes to go.
But then Fumiaki Tanaka set up Onozawa for a converted try, and there was enough time left for Ayumu Goromaru to bang over his fifth penalty in a personal 19-point haul.
Japan struggled to handle Romania's strength in the scrums and breakdowns, but enjoyed the edge in ball and territory.
The visitors led 17-9 at the break, with a late try by Takashi Kikutani, who capped a flowing team move.
On the hour, Romania closed to within a point when pressure on a Japan scrum put-in ended with Romania winger Madalin Lemnaru racing from halfway for a converted try.
That set up the thrilling end.
Japan 34 (Takashi Kikutani, Hirotoki Onozawa tries; penalty try; Ayumu Goromaru 2 conversions 5 penalties), Romania 23 (Madalin Lemnaru try; penalty try; Ionut Florea 2 conversions, Andrei Filip 3 penalties). HT: 17-9