Published: Wed, May 16, 2018
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Under-strength Samoa likely for Rugby World Cup qualifier

Under-strength Samoa likely for Rugby World Cup qualifier

Russian Federation have qualified for the 2019 Rugby World Cup, after Romania - who had initially taken the slot - Spain and Belgium were all docked points for using ineligible players during the qualifying competition.

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

"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).while 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)".

However, concerns were initially raised over the conduct of the Romanian referee Vlad Iordachescu's stewardship of Belgium's victory over Spain in the final match...

Spain lost 40 points after Mathieu Belie and Bastien Fuster played eight qualifying matches illegally after previously representing France Under-20s.

Romania, Belgium and Spain were all deducted five tournament points for each fixture in which they fielded an ineligible player.


The sport's governing body went on to say that "Fans who have purchased tickets for Rugby World Cup 2019 matches involving Romania via official channels will be entitled to a full refund for the face value of the ticket should they not wish to attend". The unions have 14 days to appeal.

Spain had requested that their qualifier against Belgium, a game officiated by a Romanian, be replayed.

In reference to the entire investigation, the committee added: "Although mistakes were made by Rugby Europe and participating unions, they had not acted in bad faith".

But in a statement released on Tuesday, World Rugby confirmed that both Romania and Spain had broken eligibility rules, resulting in a points penalty for both countries. The victor will play Samoa in a World Cup play-off for the right to join Ireland's Pool A at Japan 2019. The loser will still have a chance of progress via the Repechage competition in November.

Though Spain contested the eligibility charge weighed against them, the committee concluded that they were "satisfied that World Rugby's submissions on the fielding of ineligible players by Spain are correct".

Fuimaono said they had been waiting a long time to have their schedule clarified but it's good to finally know the dates and the team they will play.

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