Published: Tue, May 15, 2018
Culture | By Jeremy Gray

Russian Federation qualify after Spain, Belgium and Romania sanctioned

Russian Federation qualify after Spain, Belgium and Romania sanctioned

Ireland rugby head coach Joe Schmdit will have to alter his 2019 World Cup preparations slightly after Romania were dumped out of the tournament.

"Subject to any appeal of the disputes committee's decision, the victor of the European playoff between Germany and Portugal, provisionally scheduled for June 9 will play Samoa home-and-away in the playoff to determine the final Pool A place".

World Rugby received complaints that various countries in the tournament had fielded players who were not eligible to play either because there was no qualifying connection with their particular country, or because the player had already been "captured" by playing for another country, with Spain fielding one or more ineligible players on eight occasions.

They claimed that their defeat to Belgium on the last weekend of the qualifying competition was unduly influenced by the referee, as Romania automatically qualified thanks to that result.

Russian Federation have qualified for the 2019 Rugby World Cup, after Romania - who had initially taken the slot - Spain and Belgium were all docked points for using ineligible players during the qualifying competition.

"Russia will qualify for Rugby World Cup 2019 as Europe 1, joining Ireland, Scotland, Japan and the play-off victor in Pool A, while Germany will progress to the European play-off with Portugal, subject to the appeals process", said a World Rugby statement today.

A probe by the world governing body's independent disputes committee then found that all three teams had players who were not allowed.

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Subsequently, Spain were docked 40 points with Romania and Belgium penalised 30 each - five points for every match in which an ineligible player appeared.

"World Rugby notes the outcome of the independent disputes committee review into matters relating to the 2017 and 2018 Rugby Europe Championship, competitions that doubled as a Rugby World Cup 2019 qualification event", said a statement issued on Tuesday.

In Romania's case, the review found that Sione Faka'osilea played in eight matches - including six that counted towards qualification for the World Cup - despite having represented Tonga.

The committee accepted that both parties had acted in good faith but chose to dock Romania 30 points - five for each match played in qualifying.

"However, the invitation to overturn a result because of the "appearance of bias" or because of the unsatisfactory way that Rugby Europe dealt with the proper request made by Spain to remove the match officials, is in our judgment not sufficient".

"The rescheduled dates will enable the least-possible disruption for Samoa's European and Southern Hemisphere based players, who will be released under Regulation 9, which covers all Rugby World Cup qualifiers", a statement read.

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