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Russian Federation qualify for 2019 World Cup in Japan after Romania docked points

16 May 2018

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

Spain had hoped for a reprieve following a World Rugby investigation into the circumstances of their loss to Belgium, but the independent panel has chosen to dock all three teams points, subject to appeal.

Scotland had already been drawn alongside hosts Japan and Ireland in the pool stages of the World Cup, which gets under way in September 2019. The victor then faces Samoa for a place in the World Cup.

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

"Romania has fielded one ineligible player on eight occasions during the 2017 and 2018 Rugby Europe Championships (of which six matches related to Rugby World Cup 2019 qualifying)", a statement read.

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World Rugby said it will oversee the appointments of all future match officials in Rugby World Cup qualifiers.

At the final whistle Romanian referee Vlad Iordachescu was surrounded by infuriated Spanish players.

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

"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, " World Rugby said in a statement.

But instead of vilifying the Spaniards, the committee revealed that Spain, Belgium and Romania had all fielded ineligible players during qualifying matches for the World Cup.

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"World Rugby Regulation 8 stipulates mandatory financial penalties for breaches of 25,000 pounds per ineligible player for a union not represented on the World Rugby Council and 100,000 pounds for a union represented on Council", the press release said. "We have imposed financial sanctions which are to be suspended for five years".

The first leg was originally schedule for June 9 and Fuimaono said the three-week delay means they will be without a number of key players.

"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".

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

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Russian Federation qualify for 2019 World Cup in Japan after Romania docked points