Scots to face Russians at World Cup as Romania are expelled


Romania has lost its spot at the 2019 Rugby World Cup after it was docked qualifying points for repeatedly using ineligible players.

In the latest twist to a complicated and controversial series of matches and following an investigation by the independent judicial and disputes committee, World Rugby have docked the three nations five match points for each ineligible player used.

The victor will play Samoa in a World Cup play-off for the right to join Ireland's Pool A at Japan 2019. The victor will then face Samoa for a place in the World Cup.

World Rugby had originally meant to make Spain and Belgium replay that match - which was refereed by Romanian Vlad Iordachescu - but following counter-claims of eligibility infractions, commissioned an independent disputes committee to look into the matter.

World Rugby emphasised in their release the rescheduled dates would enable the least-possible disruption for Samoa's European and Southern Hemisphere based players, who must be released under Regulation 9, which covers all Rugby World Cup qualifiers.

"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", a World Rugby statement said.

There is a 14-day window for appeals by all parties.

"Spain had fielded one or more ineligible players on nine occasions during the 2017 and 2018 Rugby Europe Championships (of which eight matches related to Rugby World Cup 2019 qualifying)".

Tuesday's announcement is not the only controversy to surround the Championship, after five Spain players were banned for a combined total of 121 weeks for their furious reaction to Romanian referee Vlad Iordachescu's handling of their crucial clash with Belgium.

As a result, Belgium were fined 125,000 pounds, suspended for a period of five years conditional that no breaches occur during that period.

"Participation in the World Cup must not be concluded by such a decision".

The sanctions moved Russian Federation up to second place in the Rugby Europe Championship - behind already-qualified Georgia - and put Germany into a play-off with Portugal.

On the matter of the match between Spain and Belgium, World Rugby did state that: "the way in which Rugby Europe dealt with Spain's request for a change of match officials (in the build-up to the match) was not adequate".