Sunday 25 August 2019

Spain players banned for combined total of 121 weeks

'The suspensions were handed out by an independent committee chaired by Prof Lorne Crerar (Scotland), assisted by Jean-Claude Legendre (France) and Aliaksandr Danilevich (Belarus).' (stock image)
'The suspensions were handed out by an independent committee chaired by Prof Lorne Crerar (Scotland), assisted by Jean-Claude Legendre (France) and Aliaksandr Danilevich (Belarus).' (stock image)

Ben Coles

Five Spain players have been suspended by Rugby Europe after they angrily confronted referee Vlad Iordachescu following their controversial Rugby World Cup qualifier defeat against Belgium.

Five Spain players have been suspended by Rugby Europe after they angrily confronted referee Vlad Iordachescu following their controversial Rugby World Cup qualifier defeat against Belgium.

Scrum-half Sébastien Rouet has received the largest ban, for physical abuse of a match official and verbal abuse, set at 43 weeks. Another scrum-half, Guillaume Rouet, has received a 36-week ban also for physical abuse of a match official and verbal abuse.

The remaining three players - flankers Pierre Barthere and Lucas Guillaume along with fly-half Mathieu Belie - have all been suspended for 14 weeks for threatening actions/words towards a match official.

The suspensions were handed out by an independent committee chaired by Prof Lorne Crerar (Scotland), assisted by Jean-Claude Legendre (France) and Aliaksandr Danilevich (Belarus).

Spain were one win away from qualifying as 'Europe 1' for next year's Rugby World Cup, ahead of Romania, going into their final game of the Rugby Europe competition against Belgium.

Protesting The fixture was controversially officiated by Iordachescu, a Romanian, with Spain's players protesting against the number of penalties given against them after losing 18-10 to the Belgians.

On April 5, World Rugby ruled out a replay of the fixture, instead ordering an emergency review into a series of allegations that teams had selected ineligible players throughout the Rugby Europe competition, which doubles as the European qualification process for the Rugby World Cup. The outcome of that review is still to be confirmed.

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Spain are due to face Portugal for the right to face Samoa over a two-legged play-off starting on June 9 to qualify as the fifth side in Pool A at next year's World Cup, alongside Ireland, Scotland, hosts Japan and also Romania.

Should Spain reach that play-off against Samoa, all five of the suspended players would be unavailable.

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