Russian Federation qualify for Rugby World Cup as rivals fall

Romanian referee Vlad Iordachescu watches the action during the Rugby World Cup 2019 Europe Qualifier match between Belgium and Spain held at Little Heysel next to King Baudouin Stadium in Brussels Belgium

Russia into Rugby World Cup as Romania are disqualified

An investigation set up by World Rugby found Romania, Belgium and Spain fielded ineligible players in seven to nine games in the second-tier Rugby Europe Championship, which also acted as a qualifying competition for next year's World Cup in Japan.

Confirmation comes after an independent judicial and disputes committee found Belgium, Spain and Romania fielded ineligible players in the Rugby Europe Championship.

As a result all three countries have been disqualified and Russian Federation now take the automatic qualification spot with Germany also elevated to a play-off against Portugal for a chance to meet Samoa with the winners gaining a place in the tournament.

A final team will be added following a play-off, with the winners of Germany and Portugal facing Samoa later this summer.

"In addition, World Rugby has already formally reminded all unions and regional associations of their obligations regarding Regulation 8 and will reiterate at the Annual Meeting of Council this week, while World Rugby will also oversee match official appointments at all stages of future Rugby World Cup qualifiers".

They are scheduled to play Japan in the tournament's opening match on September 20 next year at the Tokyo Stadium.

"While the independent disputes committee has determined that mistakes were not made in bad faith by Rugby Europe and some participating unions, World Rugby is extremely disappointed with the unfortunate and avoidable events".

Microsoft Unveils Gorgeous New Surface Hub 2
You can hook it to a wall, you can put it on a rolling case, you can create a wall of Surface Hubs. You'll need to plug a webcam above the display to start video conferences.

Spain's initial appeal to replay their match against Belgium, when a Romanian referee was in charge and Spain's shock defeat sent Romania through at their expense, was rejected, despite the sport's governing body supporting it.

Eligibility for worldwide rugby is a notoriously complicated affair, with countries often nominating their own choice of "capture" level team that ensures a player can not then switch nationalities.

As such, Spain were deducted 40 points, while Belgium and Romania were both docked 30 points.

Florin Vlaicu of Romania kicks a penalty during the 2015 Rugby World Cup. The victor of that match will go on to play Samoa in a two-legged tie for a place in Pool A. "The first leg will be played in Apia on June 30 with the return leg in Europe on July 14".

The aggregate victor qualify for Japan 2019 with the loser to get one final chance via the repechage competition in November.

"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".

Latest News