Romania qualify for World Cup as Spain lose to Belgium

Ireland World Cup opponent decider leads to ugly scenes of referee confrontation

At full-time, Spain players confronted referee Vlad Iordaschescu along with his two fellow Romanian assistant referees.

Rugby Europe were last night forced to defend the process by which they appoint match officials which, they said, was carried out "ahead of the competition by an independent and neutral skilled committee".

In the immediate aftermath of the match, president of the Spanish Rugby Federation Alfonso Feijoo pinned responsibility for the defeat on the referee.

"Rugby Europe Selection Committee is waiting for the assessment report of the Supervisor for Belgium v Spain Match officials".

Later Sunday, the Spanish Rugby Federation said they had lodged a formal complaint to Rugby Europe and World Rugby.

Spain must now beat Portugal in a playoff to maintain any hopes of reaching the 2019 tournament in Japan, with the victor facing Samoa in a two-legged tie.

He said: "Everyone who has seen the game will judge the referee".




But the Oaks finished second in the standings to qualify for the Rugby World Cup, a point above Spain.

Controversially, Vlad Iordachescu - from Romania, who qualified at Spain's expense - was in charge of the clash and appeared to make a series of contentious decisions in Belgium's favour.

World Rugby is looking into the appointment of a Romanian referee for a crucial match between Spain and Belgium that determined whether Romania qualified for the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

He then offered his apologies to the ref for his side's actions, adding: "I am captain and I apologise for the persecution of the referee".

Santiago Santos, head coach of Spain, vented his anger towards the way the match was conducted, questioning the calls and neutrality of the referee, which ultimately proved pivotal. "When we were trying to come back in the game the play kept on being interrupted".

"As for other global major competitions, referees' appointments for Rugby Europe Championship have been made ahead of the competition by an independent and neutral skilled committee (no Rugby Europe board members involved)".

Failure to beat Samoa would leave Santos' men to be involved in a four-team repechage in November in a last attempt for qualification.

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