How Spain missed out on an automatic qualification for RWC 2019

How Spain missed out on an automatic qualification for RWC 2019

Spain missed out on automatic qualification to the Rugby World Cup after losing to Belguim in a match that they were strong favourites to win.

The loss means that Romania qualifies in their place and join Ireland, Japan, Scotland and the Playoff winner in Pool A of the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

The match was full of controversy with Romanian referee Vlad Iordachescu taking control of the match that ultimately led to his nation going to the Rugby World Cup.

The Spanish players were unhappy with some of the referee's calls during the match, so much so that they attacked him after the final whistle of the match. Iordachescu was eventually safely escorted off the pitch.

According to reports Spain put in a formal request to World Rugby, in February, for the referee to changed with no action on the matter taken. Spain put the request in following their 22-10 victory over Romania. 
Following the final whistle, Spain's captain Jaime Nava had this to say "I don't want to think that rugby has been prostituted to leave us out. When we were assigned the Romanian referees, we were shocked, but this is rugby, values are presupposed." (translated).
He went on to apologise for his team's actions "I am captain and I apologise for the persecution of the referee. That final image does not correspond to the sport or the values of this team. It must be understood that part of this dream has been taken away from us."

Spain's hopes of qualifying for the World Cup are not over, however, as they could still end up in the same pool as Romania, but they will have to beat Portugal, the winners of the Rugby Europe Trophy and then Samoa in home/away play-off. 

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