Spain considering appeal over ref rage
The Spanish Rugby Federation [FER] will make an official complaint to World Rugby over the performance of referee Vlad Iordachescu, with Sunday's Rugby Europe Championship match against Belgium ending in disgraceful scenes as a number of Spain players chased him off the pitch at full-time.
Spain were on the verge of qualifying for the 2019 Rugby World Cup having not qualified for the tournament since 1999, with the side only needing to beat Belgium - ranked 25th in the world - to join Georgia as qualifiers from the second tier of European rugby.
However, they suffered a controversial 18-10 defeat in Brussels that saw Iordachescu penalise them 28 times to Belgium's eight, and the matter was not helped given that the beneficiaries of Spain's defeat were Romania, who have now qualified for Japan 2019.
The FER made an official request to Rugby Europe to change the all-Romanian officials on February 19 once it became clear that it would be a straight shoot-out between the two countries, but it was rejected and Rugby Europa have confirmed that they will not comment on the matter until a full review into Iordachescu's performance has been completed.
"Romania needed Spain to lose in order to go to the World Cup; evidently, a Romanian referee was not ideal for this game," said a FER statement. "The federation will present a complaint to Rugby Europe, copying World Rugby, so that the Commission of Referees can review the video of the game and determine if the referee deliberately favoured Romania's interests and, if that is the case, take action."
Emotions boiled over at the full-time whistle as a number of Spanish players attempted to confront Iordachescu over his performance. Spanish blindside flanker Pierre Barthere appears to be the main aggressor towards the official during the unsavoury scenes after the match, with Iordachescu and his assistants having to be protected as they left the field.
World Rugby have confirmed that they are looking into the matter, with a statement confirming: "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."
Jaime Nava, the Spain captain, said that he was "shocked" by the appointment of Romanian officials to a game that had direct implications on Romania's World Cup hopes, and added that he hopes there was not any malice behind Sunday's fixture.
"I don't want to think that rugby has been prostituted to leave us out," Nava told Spanish publication 'Marca'. "When we were assigned the Romanian referees, we were shocked, but this is rugby, values are presupposed." (© Independent News Service)
Independent News Service