Rugby Europe to investigate Spain's defeat to Belgium

By Matt Slater

Rugby Europe is to analyse the performance of the Romanian referee in charge of Belgium's controversial upset of Spain this weekend in a meeting on Friday.

Belgium won the game 18-10 but referee Vlad Iordachescu's performance on a boggy Brussels pitch infuriated the favourites Spain.

Their defeat in the European qualifying match meant that Romania have qualified for the 2019 Rugby World Cup and Spain must now get past Portugal and Samoa in the play-offs to reach the tournament in Japan next year.

In a statement issued on the governing body's website on Sunday, Rugby Europe said it would not be commenting until the "usual full review" of the match official's performance had been conducted, while reiterating its commitment to the "highest standards of match official selection".

But on Monday, Rugby Europe issued a second statement that said it was still waiting for the referee supervisor's report but its selection committee will discuss its contents at a meeting on Friday in Poznan, where its under-18 men's trophy will take place over the weekend.

"(The meeting's) agenda will be modified and a large portion of it will be devoted to the analysis of every stage of the Belgium v Spain game," it said.

"Following this meeting, a statement will be released to Rugby Europe Board of Directors for dissemination."

World Rugby, the sport's international federation and the organiser of the Rugby World Cup, has also published a statement on its website and social media channels to say "it is in contact with Rugby Europe to understand the context of events relating to the Belgium v Spain match".

Spain, ranked 19th in the world, travelled to Belgium hoping to seal qualification to the Rugby World Cup for the first time since 1999.

All 18 of Belgium's points came in penalties, while Spain also lost a player to a yellow card for 10 minutes in the second half.

Spain's players had to be restrained by their coaches at the end of the match and the referee was escorted off the pitch.

Romania lost 25-16 to Georgia in Tbilisi on Sunday but the hosts had already qualified for the Rugby World Cup thanks to their performance in the 2015 competition, and Romania earned their spot thanks to their marginally better record than Spain's over the last two Rugby Europe Championships.

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