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World Rugby Agree To World Cup Qualifier Replay Depending On 'Eligibility Issues'

World Rugby Agree To World Cup Qualifier Replay Depending On 'Eligibility Issues'
By Maurice Brosnan
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World Rugby has confirmed they are looking at replaying the World Cup qualifier between Spain and Belguim.

Spain missed out on an automatic qualification place for the Rugby World Cup in controversial circumstances after they suffered a shock 18-10 loss away to Belgium in the Rugby Europe Championship.


The Spanish players were extremely unhappy with the standard of officiating during the game and swarmed the Romanian referee after the final whistle. The result had meant Romania would progress, with Georgia already qualified from Europe's tier two tournament.
However, after lodging a formal complaint World Rugby agreed with Spain's objections agreeing the referee was "not neutral in the context of qualification."

Having considered all available information, the World Rugby executive committee and Rugby World Cup board felt that a replay would be in the best interests of the game.

This replay cannot be played until a separate investigation is carried out, with World Rugby concerned with player "eligibility" relating to certain teams who took part in the last two championships.

Given this information concerns potential breach of World Rugby regulations and given the complexity and interconnectivity of the issues, a full and independent review is warranted. This is in the best interests of the sport, teams and fans and is fully supported by Rugby Europe.

The tie does have major implications for Ireland's World Cup group. Spain would have joined Ireland, Scotland and Japan in the group, but the result meant Romania would instead with Spain facing Portugal in the playoffs. The winners of that would play Samoa in a two-legged tie for a place at the World Cup.


SEE ALSO: Austin Healey Believes Nigel Owens's Celebrity Is Affecting His Refereeing

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