Russian Federation replace Romania in Ireland's Rugby World Cup pool
Russian Federation replace Romania in Ireland's Rugby World Cup pool
Russia have replaced Romania in Pool A at the 2019 World Cup
16 May, 2018, 09:48
An investigation found Romania, Belgium and Spain fielded ineligible players in the second-tier Rugby Europe Championship, which also acted as a qualifying competition for next year's World Cup in Japan.
Sione Faka'osilea was ineligible for Romania, Mathieu Belie and Bastien Fuster for Spain, and five players for Belgium, because they previously played for national teams that tied them to countries of their birthplace or weren't qualified by heritage.
In the case of Romania, the committee said the union could have taken more steps to inquire as to the relevant player's eligibility with World Rugby.
The defeat, in a game refereed by Romanian Vlad Iordachescu, initially saw Romania qualify for Pool A, and five Spanish players were handed lengthy bans for verbally and physically the official after the final whistle.
"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.
World Rugby ordered a replay because it said although the Romanian match officials weren't biased, they gave the appearance of bias. As a result, matches against them in the Rugby Europe Championship did not count towards qualification and while some of the games in which ineligible players were fielded were against Georgia, the review committee found enough examples of foul play elsewhere to dock sufficient points for Russian Federation and Germany to advance.
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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.
All the decisions are subject to appeal within 14 days and Romania said they would seek to overturn the committee's ruling.
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". "We have imposed financial sanctions which are to be suspended for five years".
World Rugby also announced that the rescheduling of Samoa's Rugby World Cup 2019 qualification matches. The victor then faces Samoa for a place in the World Cup.
The victor on aggregate will qualify for Pool A, while the loser will progress to the repechage competition in November.
"World Rugby would like to thank all unions for their patience and full support of the rescheduled fixtures which provide certainty for teams and fans".
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