Sport Rugby World Cup 2015

Wednesday 17 July 2019

Russia replace Romania in Ireland's 2019 Rugby World Cup pool after investigation into qualifying controversy

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. Photo: by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images
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. Photo: by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Russia will now play at the 2019 Rugby World Cup instead of Romania after an investigation found that three teams fielded ineligible players during the European qualifying tournament.

Initially, the investigation was to cover whether Spain vs Belgium should be replayed, after the Spaniards claimed that their defeat was unduly influenced by the Romanian referee, as Romania automatically qualified ahead of Spain due to the result.

However, an independent committee found that the result should stand, although they also ruled that Spain, Belgium and Romania had fielded ineligible players during the qualifying tournament.

As a result, Russia now top the European pool and will play at the 2019 showpiece instead of Romania.

Russia are now in Pool A alongside Ireland, hosts Japan, Scotland and another team to be determined.

Japan will play Russia in the tournament's opening game. As a result of today's ruling, Germany have also been elevated to a European playoff, where they will face Portugal.

The winners will then face Samoa, with the victorious side sealing the final place in Ireland's World Cup pool.

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