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Spain blame Romanian referee for Rugby World Cup failure

20 March, 2018, 04:27 | Author: Rachael Silva
  • A brawl broke out following the World Cup Qualifier between Belgium and Spain in Brussels

They will face Portugal in a playoff later this year, with the victor of that clash facing Samoa.

BOSSES will meet this week to review the official match report on Belgium and Spain's controversial Rugby World Cup qualifier.

Spain were unhappy with Romanian referee Vlad Iordachescu and confronted him at full-time on Sunday.

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

The Spanish Rugby Federation said on Sunday that they had lodged a formal complaint to Rugby Europe and World Rugby. Spain would have qualified with a win.

Rugby Europe had released a statement on Sunday confirming the appointments were made before the Rugby Europe Championship, and confirmed during the tournament based on refs' performances.

Captain Jaime Nava was left to apologise for the behaviour of his players for their reaction on the final whistle but he too questioned the officiating and decision to allow a Romanian official to take charge.


The head of Rugby Europe, Octavian Morariu, also happens to be Romanian.

Spain's coach Santiago Santos was equally furious.

Spanish back Brad Linklater pointed to the "Belgian aggression and irregular tackling that went unpunished" by the man in the middle who was appointed by Rugby Europe.

"As for other worldwide 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)".

"While we appreciate that this is a subject of high-emotion, it would be inappropriate to comment on match official performance before the usual full review has been undertaken", the organisation said.

Failure to beat Samoa would leave Santos' men to be involved in a four-team repechage in November in a last attempt for qualification. Its agenda will be modified and a large portion of the meeting will be devoted to the analysis of every stage of the Belgium v Spain game.

"The difference between penalties against us and for us was huge. I said to one of the players that Spain didn't lose today, rugby lost".

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