This on-going saga looks set for a few more twists and turns.
If you’re not up to date on the latest regarding one of Ireland’s World Cup opponents, then we don’t blame you, it’s becoming incredibly messy and confusing.
Currently, one of Ireland’s Pool A 2019 World Cup opponents is Russia. Russia were placed in Ireland’s Pool because both Romania (who qualified as group winners in the qualifying process) and Spain were docked points due to fielding ineligible players in their World Cup Europe Qualifier campaign. This meant that Russia joined Ireland, Japan an Scotland in Pool A.
However, both Spain and Romania are appealing World Rugby’s decision to dock them points. Romania accepts that they fielded ineligible players, but are appealing the decision that this should result in a points deduction.
Spain will be appealing on two fronts. Firstly, they will appeal the decision that their request for a replay of their fixture against Belgium was rejected. Spain controversially fell to a defeat to Belgium which meant that they didn’t top the group.
Secondly, they will appeal the decision that they broke the eligibility rule surrounding their players.
The appeal will be heard on 1 June by an independent Appeals Committee.
Here is the full statement from World Rugby:
Romania and Spain have lodged appeals against the sanction handed-down by the independent Disputes Committee in relation to the Europe region Rugby World Cup 2019 qualifiers.
Formal submissions were received by World Rugby in accordance with the Appeal Committee’s directions.
On 15 May, an independent Disputes Committee found that Belgium, Romania and Spain had breached World Rugby Regulation 8 by fielding players who were either ineligible to represent them or previously captured by another union. The Independent Disputes Committee issued competition points penalties as well as suspended fines.
While admitting to a breach of World Rugby Regulation 8 relating to fielding an ineligible player who was previously captured by another union, Romania has confirmed that it is appealing the sanction.
Spain is appealing the decision of the independent Disputes Committee which: (i) decided that the match between Belgium versus Spain should not be replayed; and (ii) found that two ineligible players were fielded during the European Rugby World Cup 2019 qualification process.
The appeal will be heard on 1 June by an independent Appeals Committee comprising of World Rugby’s independent Judicial Panel Chairman Christopher Quinlan QC (chair), former USA international and World Rugby Hall of Fame inductee Phaidra Knight and chair of the EPCR Independent Disciplinary Panel Mike Hamlin.