Russian Federation benefit after Romania, Spain and Belgium deducted points

Romanian referee Vlad Iordachescu watches the action during the Rugby World Cup 2019 Europe Qualifier match between Belgium and Spain held at Little Heysel next to King Baudouin Stadium in Brussels Belgium

However, the match came under scrutiny first for the appointment of Romanian referee Vlad Iordachescu, and then for the angry protests from Spain's players as they lost 18-0 to Belgium - a result which put Romania in the World Cup.

"World Rugby is committed to addressing these issues and will lead a review of European tournament delivery in the context of Rugby World Cup qualifying in full partnership with Rugby Europe".

The points deduction set forth in today's ruling means that as well as Russian Federation going into a World Cup pool alongside tournament hosts Japan, Ireland and Scotland, it also means that Spain will no longer take part in a play-off match with Portugal. The victor then faces Samoa for a place in the World Cup.

Romania had controversially edged Spain to Europe's final automatic spot, having leapfrogged them on the final day of the Rugby Europe Championship in March following the Spaniards' contentious defeat in Belgium.

The committee ruled that "that each team be deducted five championship points for each game in which an ineligible player or players participated".

Burnley defender Tarkowski dreaming of World Cup call-up
England follow up their opener against Tunisia by taking on central American minnows Panama in Nizhny Novgorod six days later. Manchester City title-winner Fabian Delph comes in for the 26-year-old, despite making nine fewer appearances this season.

"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", World Rugby said in a statement.

As such, Spain were deducted 40 points, while Belgium and Romania were both docked 30 points.

As a result, Belgium were fined 125,000 pounds, suspended for a period of five years conditional that no breaches occur during that period.

World Rugby also announced that the rescheduling of Samoa's Rugby World Cup 2019 qualification matches. As a result of today's ruling, Germany have also been elevated to a European playoff, where they will face Portugal. The loser of that clash will go into the final repechage competition for the chance to qualify for the World Cup. The committee also criticized Rugby Europe for failing to change the match officials at Spain's request and, instead, asking the officials if they wanted to step aside.

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