Five Spanish rugby players have been banned for a combined total of 121 weeks for their conduct in a controversial Rugby World Cup qualifier last month.
Brothers Sebastien and Guillaume Rouet have been banned for 43 and 36 weeks respectively for physical and verbal abuse of a match official, while Pierre Barthere, Lucas Guillaume and Mathieu Belie have all been hit with 14-week bans.
The bans start immediately with the players having seven days to appeal the decision.
A misconduct complaint against the Spanish Rugby Union was suspended and a further hearing date will be set.
The incident occurred after Spain lost a crucial World Cup qualifier against Belgium – which allowed Romania to qualify for the 2019 tournament in Japan at their expense.
Players were left fuming at the performance of Romanian referee Vlad Iordachescu with several confronting the official at full-time.
The Spanish Rugby Federation lodged a formal complaint to World Rugby and Rugby Europe over a series of decisions they feel were made in Belgium’s favour.
“I am deeply saddened and disappointed by the attitude of the Spanish players, representatives and fans,” said Petrache at the time.
“There is no room for hooliganism, misconduct and denigration in rugby.
“Letting one’s emotions get the best of them is a sign of immaturity, that proves that the Spanish team is not ready to face responsibly the challenges an elite competition involves.
“There is no room for this kind of violent behaviour in sport and, more importantly, in one of the few sports that still prides itself on its values and defends them.”
As well as the behaviour of the Spanish players, World Rugby also announced last month that they would be carrying out a full review into the match after ineligibility issues came to light – having initially wanted the match to be replayed.
In a statement, they said: “Having considered all available information, the World Rugby executive committee and Rugby World Cup board felt that a replay would be in the best interests of the game.
“Given this information concerns potential breach of World Rugby regulations and given the complexity and interconnectivity of the issues, a full and independent review is warranted.
“This is in the best interests of the sport, teams and fans and is fully supported by Rugby Europe.”