Ireland will come up against Russia in next year’s rugby’s World Cup after the World Rugby board have found that Romania had fielded ineligible players during their qualification process.
Romania were found guilty along with other countries Spain and Belgium and all countries were given hefty fines. Romania, topped their qualifying group and the Spanish finished in the play off spot in second in the group. The issue came to light when the Romanians qualified for next year’s event after the Belgians claimed a win over Spain. Spain had an issue on the way that game was refereed by a Romanian national.
An investigation was launched and it came down to this and it found all three teams had illegal players playing for them in their respective games. As a result of this Romania have been thrown out of the 2019 world Cup, while Russia take their place. In relation to the play spot occupied Germany have now been given the spot where they will play Portugal, the winner there plays Samoa for a right to go to the World Cup in Japan.
In a statement World Rugby said ‘’Russia will qualify for Rugby World Cup 2019 as Europe 1, joining, Ireland, Scotland, Japan and the play off winner in Pool A, while Germany will progress to the European play off with Portugal, subject to the appeals process’’.
The following sanctions will also be applied to the teams that were found guilty, Romania £100,000 at a rate of £100,000 for a union on Council x1 ineligible player , Spain £50,000 at a rate of £25,000 for a union not on council x2 ineligible player and Belgium £125,000 at a rate for a union not on council x5 ineligible players.
This news is disturbing for the world professional game, however I fully expect the Romanians and the other sides to lodge appeals.