Rugby Union


Romanian referee confronted after Spain miss out on World Cup qualification

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There were ugly scenes at the end of 80 minutes at the European qualifier between Spain and Belgium after the Spaniards suffered a shock defeat to their rivals on Sunday.

The final scoreline read 18-10 in favour of the Diables Noirs [Black Devils] which meant Romania secured automatic qualification for the World Cup next year.

Spain were on course to qualify for the pinnacle of world rugby for the first time since 1999 with a victory, but must now beat Portugal in a playoff before the daunting prospect of facing Samoa in a two-legged tie in order to progress.

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.

And the Spanish team immediately confronted the referee at full-time to protest against his display.

As you can see below, players and coaches from both sides were dragged into the heated confrontation, as Iordachescu was escorted off the pitch by security personnel.

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.

“We weren't allowed to play. The referee kept stopping the game at every moment. Our game was stopped continuously, the Belgians benefited from many more decisions," he said, per BBC Sport.

“The difference between penalties against us and for us was huge. When we were trying to come back in the game the play kept on being interrupted.”

Rugby Europe released a statement later in the day to defend the decision to appoint Iordachescu.


“Referees' appointments for the Rugby Europe Championship have been made ahead of the competition by an independent and neutral skilled committee.”

Meanwhile World Rugby vice-chairman Agustin Pichot was bombarded with messages regarding the turn of events.

He took to Twitter and stated: “I'm going to watch the game and of course there will be an explanation.”

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