Spain fury at referee 'bias' after World Cup blow

Spain miss out on automatic Rugby World Cup qualification

Spain would have qualified for the first time in 20 years with a win but defeat meant Romania advanced through the Rugby Europe Championship, which doubled as European qualifying, to the Rugby World Cup in Japan.

"That final image does not correspond to the sport or the values of this team".

Jaime Nava, captain of Spain, said: "I don't want to think that rugby has been prostituted to leave us out".

Instead Romania finished second behind Georgia in the Rugby Europe Championship, with ugly scenes marring the encounter after the full-time whistle in Brussels. When we were assigned Romanian officials, we were shocked. It must be understood however, we've lost part of our dream.

"We weren't allowed to play", said Spain coach Santiago Santos.

"Everyone who has seen the game will judge the referee. He gave 10 penalties against us, the result comes from that".

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It was known when they draw was made that they'd face both Japan and Scotland in a group that will no doubt be hard but one Ireland would expect to come out on top of.

Romania have now extended their record of competing at every World Cup since its inception in 1987.

FER said the next day it asked the president of the Rugby Europe referees commission, Patrick Roben, to change the officials for the Belgium match because all three were Romanian, and Romania needed a Spain loss to qualify.

However, Belgium raced into a 15-0 lead and, despite a late fightback, Los Leones could not finish the job off, meaning they will now face the play-off route. Georgia automatically qualified for the Rugby World Cup at the 2015 tournament.

Spanish back Brad Linklater pointed to the "Belgian aggression and irregular tackling that went unpunished" by the man in the middle who was appointed by Rugby Europe.

Failure to beat Samoa would leave Santos' men to be involved in a four-team repechage in November in a last attempt for qualification.

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