SPAIN’S rugby team has accused a referee of bias after failing to qualify for the 2019 World Cup in Japan.

The Romanian referee – who was appointed to officiate by Rugby Europe – had to be escorted from the pitch yesterday Spain’s shock 18-10 defeat to Belgium resulted in Romania qualifying.

Spain would have been guaranteed a spot in Japan if they had won, but their loss instead sent them into a repechage play-off, with Romania qualifying instead.

After the final whistle in Brussels, Spanish players angrily confronted Vlad Iordachescu, apparently over a perceived bias.

Spain captain Jaime Nava said his side had been ‘eliminated by external factors’, adding that ‘today rugby has lost.’

The controversial appointment follows that of Marius van der Westhuizen, who was removed from assistant refereeing duty at Twickenham at the weekend because he had attended an England training session.