Russian Federation qualify for Rugby World Cup 2019 in place of Romania

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"Rescheduling is necessary to maximise time following the conclusion of independent disputes committee review of matters relating to the 2017-18 Rugby Europe Championship, a competition run by Rugby Europe that doubles as Rugby World Cup 2019 qualification", the statement reads.

"Russia will qualify for Rugby World Cup 2019 as Europe 1, joining Ireland, Scotland, Japan and the play-off victor in Pool A, while Germany will progress to the European play-off with Portugal, subject to the appeals process", said a World Rugby statement today.

World Rugby received complaints that various countries in the tournament had fielded players who were not eligible to play either because there was no qualifying connection with their particular country, or because the player had already been "captured" by playing for another country, with Spain fielding one or more ineligible players on eight occasions.

Spain's initial appeal to replay their match against Belgium, when a Romanian referee was in charge and Spain's shock defeat sent Romania through at their expense, was rejected, despite the sport's governing body supporting it.

As such, Spain were deducted 40 points, while Belgium and Romania were both docked 30 points. It goes in as the Europe 1 qualifier in Pool A, joining Ireland, Scotland, and Japan.

In the latest twist to a complicated and controversial series of matches and following an investigation by the independent judicial and disputes committee, World Rugby have docked the three nations five match points for each ineligible player used.

Romanian players aren't happy. The unions have 14 days to appeal.

The victor on aggregate will qualify for Japan 2019 in Pool A, alongside the hosts, Ireland, Scotland and Russian Federation.

"Whatever the outcome of the Europe program is still alright with us because that was our first priority, we want to qualify for the World Cup, he said".

Germany, who have never been in a World Cup, now have another chance as they are promoted to face Portugal in a playoff, though the winners face a daunting final step with a two-legged playoff against Samoa.

"World Rugby Regulation 8 stipulates mandatory financial penalties for breaches of 25,000 pounds per ineligible player for a union not represented on the World Rugby Council and 100,000 pounds for a union represented on Council", the press release said.

"World Rugby would like to thank all unions for their patience and full support of the rescheduled fixtures which provide certainty for teams and fans".