RUGBY

World Rugby to investigate suspicious Belgium v Spain match

A Romanian referee oversaw Belgium's defeat of Spain on Sunday, a result that secured Romania's place at the 2019 Rugby World Cup.
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World Rugby has announced that it will investigate the ‘context’ around Belgium’s defeat of Spain on Sunday.

Spain furious after controversial Belgium defeat

Spain lost 18-10 in a match they needed to win to confirm their place at the 2019 Rugby World Cup. It would have been their first appearance at the tournament for two decades. The defeat means Romania qualify automatically, with Spain facing a play-off against Portugal to determine who faces Samoa in a second play-off.

The controversy arises because the referee - Vlad Iordachescu – is Romanian, and his nation directly benefitted from Spain losing in Brussels. The Spanish players were livid with his refereeing performance and chased him off the pitch at full-time.

"It isn't just Spain who are the losers today," Spain coach Santiago Santos told LaLiga4Sports. "Rugby is the loser. The refereeing was biased; it wasn't impartial."

World Rugby and Rugby Europe release statements

World Rugby released the following statement on Monday: “While World Rugby does not appoint match officials for the Rugby Europe Championship, it is in contact with Rugby Europe to understand the context of events relating to the Belgium v Spain match in Brussels on Sunday, which doubled as an important RWC 2019 qualifier.”

Rugby Europe, the organisation responsible for allocating officials, also made a statement on Monday: “Rugby Europe Selection Committee is waiting for the assessment report of the Supervisor for Belgium v Spain Match officials. In addition, this Committee will meet in Poznan next Friday on the occasion of the Rugby Europe U18 Championships.”

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