Spain players given long bans for Romanian referee abuse
Five Spain internationals have been banned for a combined total of 121 weeks for their conduct following a contentious World Cup qualifier against Belgium last month.
Romanian referee Vlad Iordachescu had to be led away from Spanish players who were furious with the way he officiated their 18-10 defeat in Brussels, which seemed to have ended their hopes of qualifying for the 2019 showpiece.
Belgium's win in the Rugby Europe Championship encounter meant Romania sealed a spot in the tournament in Japan next year.
A Rugby Europe Independent Judicial Committee suspended brothers Guillaume and Sebastien Rouet for 36 and 43 weeks respectively for physical abuse of a match official and verbal abuse.
Pierre Barthere, Lucas Guillaume and Mathieu Belie were given 14-week bans for threatening actions/words towards a match official. All five players have the right to appeal.
A misconduct complaint against the Spanish Rugby Union was suspended and a further hearing date will be set.
World Rugby set up an independent disputes committee to look into the controversial encounter after initially coming to the conclusion that it should be replayed.
That decision was made following another twist, with Romania and Belgium accused of fielding ineligible players during their Rugby Europe Championship.