World Rugby put the sword to Romanian RWC hopes, elect Russia instead
Russia's outside half Yuri Kushnarev kicks a penalty during the run-off qualifier match against Uruguay for Rugby World Cup 2015, at Charrua stadium in Montevideo on October 11, 2014. AFP PHOTO / Pablo PORCIUNCULA (Photo credit should read PABLO PORCIUNCULA/AFP/Getty Images)

In an authoritative move, World Rugby put the sword to Romanian RWC hopes, as they disciplined both Romania, Belgium and Spain, to select Russia instead. It was in relation to the outrageous reaction from Spain when they failed to gain direct entry into the tournament, and comes after investigation by the governing bodies Independent Judicial and Disputes committee.

The reaction is firm, and holds up the ideals that World Rugby hold dear. And it will hope to right any uncertainty over player eligibility, as well as looking to ensure respect for officials and for the values of the sport.

World Rugby put the sword to Romanian RWC hopes, elect Russia instead

The news of penalty rulings and sanctions imposed by World Rugby, now result in Russia being selected as the Europe qualifier. The Russian team will be elevated to Pool A; beside hosts Japan and duel-favourites Ireland.

Russia last competed at the World Cup in 2011, and will now have approximately 15 months to prepare for the pinnacle rugby event.

With the promotion of Russia, Germany and Portugal must now face-off in a hastily arranged play-off fixture – the winner of which will play Samoa, to qualify for the tournament. And while the opportunity is a valuable one, some are bewildered by any schedule that sits outside the June International window.

But if each of the three sides takes their chances, then they may find themselves competing on the biggest stage of them all, when Japan host the first Rugby World Cup held in Asia.

Committee findings penalize Romania, Belgium and Spain

The independent committee, comprising Sir James Dingemans, Sir Peter Fraser and Lex Mpati, was convened to look at the result of the Belgium versus Spain match on 18 March. The contentious end to the match; including the placement of referees and eligibility of players.

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 findings of the investigation can be found here.

The committee also recommended that World Rugby re-emphasise the importance and sanctity of Regulation 8 and any other steps that will prevent a repeat of these circumstances.

That was because it was desirable to take any steps which avoided the risks of qualification being determined off the pitch. As a result, sanctions have been imposed on all three unions affected, and the outcome of the Rugby World Cup qualifier have been reviewed.

All parties have a right of appeal within 14 days of receiving the full written decision.

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