Romania, Spain, and Belgium Booted!
Romania has been disqualified from the 2019 Rugby World Cup today after fielding ineligible players in qualifying. Russia will take their place in Japan.
An investigation by World Rugby found Romania, Belgium and Spain fielded ineligible players in seven to nine games in the second-tier Rugby Europe Championship, which also acted as a qualifying competition for next year’s World Cup.
As a result, all three teams were deducted points, leaving Russia to qualify for only its second World Cup.
Russia previously played at the 2011 World Cup in New Zealand.
This will be the first World Cup Romania misses.
Germany was promoted in place of Spain to a qualifying playoff against Portugal on June 9. The winner then faces Samoa for a place in the World Cup.
World Rugby also handed out fines, suspended for five years, totalling £125,000 for Belgium, £100,000 for Romania, and £50,000 for Spain.
Sione Faka’osilea was ineligible for Romania, Mathieu Belie and Bastien Fuster for Spain, and five players for Belgium, because they previously played for national teams that tied them to countries of their birthplace or weren’t qualified by heritage.