The opening 20 minutes of Saturday's Pool B opener in Invercargill gave little hint to what was to come as Scotland dominated with Simon Danielli, Joe Ansbro, Sean Lamont and Max Evans all looking lively.
However, with their pack providing the platform, Romania came into the game and almost struck a blow for the minnows as they led 24-21 with 14 minutes left.
In the end, though, tries from Mike Blair, Ansbro and Danielli (2), plus 14 points from Chris Paterson sealed the win for Andy Robinson's men.
For Romania, who dominated the set-piece, Mihaita Lazar and Daniel Carpo powered over for tries while Marin Dumbrava and Ionut Dimofte landed 14 points between them.
Paterson had got Scotland off the mark with an early penalty before Blair scored the opening try on seven minutes.
Great hands from Joe Ansbro released Simon Danielli whose mazy run was well supported by Blair for the scrum-half to add the finishing touch.
Marin Dumbrava missed an immediate chance to reduce the deficit when his kick drifted wide - but the Romania fly-half made amends a minute later from the other side of the pitch.
Scotland should have had added a second try on 18 minutes when Romania coughed up possession and Evans countered. The winger found Danielli on the inside but with just the full-back to beat he somehow threw a forward pass to Paterson.
The mistake didn't prove costly, though, as Ansbro powered through four tackles to score a brilliant individual effort. Paterson converted for a 15-3 lead.
Dumbrava replied with another penalty and Romania were unlucky not to get their first try as they hammered away through their pack.
Somewhat surprisingly Romania opted for a shot at goal when a 5m scrum collapsed, but Dumbrava failed to take advantage.
Paterson wasn't as wasteful when he slotted over a penalty, but the Oaks pack had the final word when they drove Scotland over their line - with prop Lazar being awarded the try.
Dumbrava missed the conversion to mean Scotland led 18-11 at the break - however if the No.10 had landed all of his kicks, the minnows would have had the advantage.
Paterson missed an early penalty chance of his own after the restart, while a mixture of good defence and poor retention left Scotland frustrated.
Paterson, though, found the target on 52 minutes to give Scotland a 10-point cushion - but once again Robinson's side gave away another needless penalty from the restart, with Dimofte slotting the kick over.
Suddenly Romania found some self-belief - and with replacement half-back Florin Surugiu and Ionel Cazan pulling the strings, they hammered away at the Scotland line before Dimofte slotted over a penalty.
There was worse to come for Scotland as Carpo powered over from a 5m scrum to give Romania the lead on 66 minutes - with Dimofte's conversion putting them three points ahead.
However Romania took the strange decision to take off Paulica Ion and Marius Tincu - with Scotland bouncing back to level the scores through Paterson.
And Scotland fans were breathing a sigh of relief as Danielli raced over with five minutes left after a storming break from Richie Vernon.
Danielli added his second two minutes later to seal the win after good attacking play from the Scots had pulled in the Romanian defence.
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