Ireland World Cup opponent decider leads to ugly scenes of referee confrontation

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A poor performance from a Romanian referee helped Belgium upset Spain 18-10 on Sunday, which saw Romania qualify for the 2019 World Cup instead.

"When we were trying to come back in the game the play kept on being interrupted".

After the final whistle, incensed Spanish players surrounded the Romanian referee.

He then offered his apologies to the ref for his side's actions, adding: "I am captain and I apologise for the persecution of the referee". A scuffle then broke out between the Spanish and Belgian players.

Spanish rugby federation president Alfonso Feijoo said on Twitter: "Everyone who has seen the game will judge the referee".

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Spain now face Portugal, with the victor playing Samoa in a two-legged play-off for the right to join hosts Japan, Ireland, Scotland and Romania in World Cup Pool A.

Spain captain Jaime Nava apologised for the conduct of his players at the final whistle, but stressed that his team were dismayed after having been "eliminated by external factors". "He gave 10 penalties against us, the result comes from that".

"The image at the end of the game does not represent the sport nor the values of this team".

The Oaks will slot into Pool A with Ireland, Scotland, Japan, and a yet-to-be-determined playoff victor.

In the final match of the European qualifying group for Japan 2019, Spain would have secured their place with victory over Belgium.

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Romania has played at every Rugby World Cup but never advanced beyond the pool stage, AP reported.

However, Belgium raced into a 15-0 lead and, despite a late fightback, Los Leones could not finish the job off, losing 18-10, meaning they will now face the play-off route.

The Oaks lost 25-16 to Georgia in Tbilisi on Sunday but compiled 29 points in qualifying matches across the last two Rugby Europe Championships - three more than Spain.

He was appointed to officiate by Rugby Europe.

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