Spain have missed out on an opportunity to qualify for the 2019 World Cup after they suffered an 18-10 loss to Belgium in the 2018 Rugby Europe Championship.
The home side took a 12-0 lead at halftime but despite a second-half comeback from the visitors, it wasn’t enough for Spain who must now play Portugal and then, if they win that game, must beat Samoa in order to confirm their place at the 2019 World Cup.
The game was officiated by a Romanian referee, Vlad Iordăchescu, who the Spanish players felt adjudicated them unfairly throughout the game. More controversially, the Spanish loss means that Romania qualifies for the 2019 World Cup as they finished second on 14 points at the expense of Spain who finished third with 13 points in the Rugby Europe Championship standings.
The Spanish players, clearly aggrieved at the end of the game, confronted the Romanian official in what were ugly scenes, a video of which you can find below.
Completely out of order.
You understand Spain's disappointment at blowing RWC qualification. The (Romanian) ref made some odd calls, but there's NO excuse for this. Heads gone pic.twitter.com/VDWLQPlMVd
— Tim Cocker (@cocker) March 18, 2018
A Romanian referee for a game Romania needed Spain to lose in order to qualify automatically for the Rugby World Cup? That's… unusual.
Belgium win 18-10. All kicking off at the end, Spain players not happy with the referee at all. pic.twitter.com/s1UctCA2De
— Ben Coles (@bencoles_) March 18, 2018
Here are some photos of the scenes after the game.
Spain where overwhelming favourites for the game after hammering Germany 84-10 last weekend but they will now need to do it the hard way to secure their place at the World Cup in 2019.