Spain furious with Romanian referee after defeat means Romania qualifies for Rugby World Cup

A Romanian rugby referee has had to be escorted off the pitch after members of the Spanish team tried to attack him after an 18-10 Rugby World Cup qualifying defeat to Belgium.

A win would have sent Spain to the World Cup for the first time since 1999, but Los Leones missed out after some controversial calls by referee Vlad Iordachescu.

After the final whistle, frustrated Spanish players surrounded the Romanian referee. A scuffle then broke out between the Spanish and Belgian players and referee was then escorted off the field.

Spain's loss means that Romania qualifies for the 2019 World Cup as they finished second on 14 points at the expense of Spain who finished third with 13 points in the Rugby Europe Championship standings.

The appointment of Iordachescu was made by Rugby Europe, rather than governing body World Rugby, with some reports suggesting that Spain had asked for the Romanian officials to be changed given the possible outcomes of the fixture in Brussels.

Spanish Rugby confirmed on Twitter that they will file a complaint to Rugby Europe and World Rugby. 

Spain will now need to beat Portugal in a playoff and then win a two-legged tie against Samoa to reach the 2019 World Cup.

If they beat Portugal but lose to Samoa, they will play in a four-team repechage in November in a last attempt to qualify for the competition.