Spanish players angrily confront Romanian referee after Rugby World Cup qualification defeat

A brawl broke out following the World Cup Qualifier between Belgium and Spain in Brussels

Questions following the final whistle centred on the appointment for the fixture of Romanian referee Vlad Iordachescu and two Romanian assistant referees, with Spain's players angrily confronting the referee at the final whistle and sarcastically applauding his performance, leading to Iordachescu being escorted from the field by security.

"That final image does not correspond to the sport or the values of this team. I said to one of the players that Spain didn't lose today, rugby lost".

Spain players, in yellow, clash with Romania referee Vlad Iordachescu, after the Rugby Europe Championship match between Belgium and Spain at the Little Heysel Stadium in Brussels, Sunday, March 18, 2018. When we were assigned Romanian officials, we were shocked.

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"We weren't allowed to play, the referee kept stopping the game at every moment", he said. "He gave 10 penalties against us, the result comes from that".

Spain coach Santiago Santos was also heavily critical of the referee in his post-match comments.

It was known when they draw was made that they'd face both Japan and Scotland in a group that will no doubt be hard but one Ireland would expect to come out on top of.

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Spain had looked set to qualify for the first time since 1999, but their defeat in Brussels handed Romania the automatic European qualifying spot.

However, Belgium raced into a 15-0 lead and, despite a late fightback, Los Leones could not finish the job off, losing 18-10, meaning they will now face the play-off route.

Social media was quick to hint at dark conspiracy theories given the nationality of the man overseeing a qualifier involving a team in direct competition with his country's own World Cup bid.

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Miguel Layun pulled a goal back for Sevilla in the 90th minute. "In the first half they were fantastic and showed why they're league leaders".

Spain's failure advanced Romania, even though the Oaks lost their Rugby Europe Championship title to Georgia 25-16 in Tbilisi on Sunday.

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