World Rugby Reveals Decision Following Review Of Spain Vs Belgium Game

Ruben Hill
May 15, 2018

But found that Belgium, Spain and Romania all fielded ineligible players, and have deducted points from all three (essentially disqualifying all of them).

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".

"World Rugby is committed to addressing these issues and will lead a review of European tournament delivery in the context of Rugby World Cup qualifying in full partnership with Rugby Europe".

Spain were on the verge of taking the top European qualification berth via the Rugby Europe Championship and needed only a win over Belgium in their final fixture in March to secure passage.

Japan will play Russian Federation in the opening game of Rugby World Cup 2019 after Romania were essentially thrown out of the tournament for fielding an ineligible player during the qualifying process, World Rugby announced Wednesday.

"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, as expressed when announcing the convening of the independent committee".

The teams have subsequently been deducted five points per offence relating to World Cup qualifying, costing Spain 40 points and Belgium and Romania 30 points each - effectively disqualifying all three.

World Rugby insisted that players would be released for the two matches, however, and revealed that it would fund the country's entry into next month's Pacific Nations Cup in Fiji.

The winners of that go into a Europe/Oceania play-off against Samoa for the chance to complete Pool A at next year's global showpiece.

World Rugby ordered a replay because although the Romanian match officials weren't biased, they gave the appearance of bias.

The referee was chased out of the stadium by Spain players, five of whom were suspended for 14 to 36 weeks.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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