Published: Tue, March 20, 2018
Sport | By

World Rugby to investigate Spain game

World Rugby to investigate Spain game

World Rugby is looking into the appointment of a Romanian referee for a crucial match between Spain and Belgium that determined whether Romania qualified for the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

The choice of a Romanian referee in a match that directly affected Romania's qualification for the Rugby World Cup has raised eyebrows and questions have been asked as to how this situation was allowed develop by World Rugby.

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.

Ugly scenes have marred the end of Spain's surprising 18-10 loss to Belgium in Brussels, with the referee having to be escorted from the field.

"The difference between penalties against us and for us was huge".

He was appointed to officiate by Rugby Europe.

"And if so, to act accordingly".

Linklater did go on to acknowledge that his side "had not produced their best rugby".

Spain was in pole position for qualifying after it beat Romania 22-10 in Madrid last month for the first time in six years.

They will now face Portugal in a bid to reach the 2019 tournament in Japan.

Spain said the penalty count was 18-8 in favour of Belgium and coach Santiago Santos called the refereeing "biased".

Belgian coach Guillaume Ajac, who had fielded an inexperienced team in their away tie, recalled some established stars.

Belgium led 12-0 at halftime from four penalty kicks and 15-0 soon after from another penalty.

"I want to play a solid opening game and seal that victory", Japan back Harumichi Tatekawa said Monday after returning from South Africa with Super Rugby's Sunwolves.

For Romania, the outcome in Brussels extended their record of competing at every World Cup since its inception in 1987, topping the table by three points from Spain.

"The referee cancelled us", captain Jaime Nava said.

The federation said Patrick Roben, president of Rugby Europe's referees' commission, denied the request because the match appointments were done weeks in advance.

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