Russian Federation qualify for Rugby World Cup after trio of nations penalised

Russian Federation qualify for Rugby World Cup after trio of nations penalised

In a controversial outcome to the highly vexed Rugby Europe qualification process for the 2019 World Cup in Japan, Russia have qualified for the 2019 tournament and will play in Ireland's group after Romania, Spain and Belgium were each docked points for repeatedly using ineligible players during the qualifying competition.

Samoa will face Germany or Portugal for a place at next year's tournament in Japan after World Rugby announced the new dates for their home and away playoff series.

Georgia topped the Rugby Europe Championship but they had already qualified for the World Cup next year by finishing third in their pool in 2015.

However, concerns were initially raised over the conduct of the Romanian referee Vlad Iordachescu's stewardship of Belgium's victory over Spain in the final match...

"I am very glad that our arguments were heard because the federations of Romania, Belgium and Spain committed grave violations of the regulations, allowing these players (to take part in the qualifiers)", the federation's deputy chairman Kirill Yashenkov said.

Spain were docked a total of 40 points by the independent disputes committee while Romania and Belgium were both docked 30 points each in the tournament for fielding ineligible players during the tournament.

Romania had only one ineligible player, Sione Faka'osilea, who previously played for Tonga Sevens.


The European qualifying tournament was thrown into disarray when Spain lost 18-12 in their final game to Belgium, having only needed a win to qualify for Japan.

But the panel ruled that all three countries broke eligibility rules and have been deducted points.

BC-RGU-World Rugby-Romania Disqualified, 109URGENTRomania disqualified from Rugby World Cup, Russia promotedEds: APNewsNow.

"No further comment will be made while the 14-day appeal window is open".

Recognising this, the independent committee added in its report: "World Rugby might want to consider whether to maintain a database showing players who have been captured by Unions".

"Subject to any appeal of the disputes committee's decision, the victor of the European play-off between Germany and Portugal, provisionally scheduled for 9 June will play Samoa home and away in the play-off to determine the final Pool A place". It also enables all qualifiers to be completed prior to the Repechage competition.

World Rugby also said Regulation 9, which deals with the release of players from their club teams to play test matches, will apply for the rescheduled games to ensure the least-possible disruption for the Pacific islanders, many of whom play their trade in Europe.

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