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28th Apr 2022

Spain banned from competing at the 2023 Rugby World Cup

Daniel Brown

Spain Rugby World Cup

Spain had qualified for the second time in history

Spain have been kicked out of the 2023 Rugby World Cup after it was discovered they fielded an ilegiable player during this years European Championship.

They were due to compete in Pool B alongside Scotland, Ireland, South Africa and an Asia/Pacific qualifier at the tournament in France.

However, the Romanian rugby’s governing body filed a complaint against Spain, alleging that they had used an ineligible player, Gavin Van den Berg, during qualifying.

It was the first time that Spain had qualified for the World Cup since 1999 – doing so by finishing second in the combined Rugby Europe Championship 2021 and 2022 standings.

According to reports, Romania – who finished third – are expected to take Spain’s place in Pool B.

A statement from the España Rugby said: “After the oral hearing held this Thursday, April 28, with the independent judicial committee appointed by World Rugby to study the claim of the Romanian Rugby Federation (FRR) on the eligibility of Gavin Van den Berg, the highest body in world rugby has decided to penalize Spain with £25,000 and deduct five points for each of the two games in which this player was lined up.

“While waiting for World Rugby to make the ruling official, this decision means disqualification from the 2023 World Cup in France, a competition for which the XV del León had qualified directly by finishing second in the Rugby Europe Championship 2021-2022.

“As this very harsh sanction occurs as a result of an alleged forgery of the aforementioned player’s passport, the Spanish Rugby Federation (FER) continues with the extraordinary disciplinary procedure initiated at the time and will shortly call a press conference to offer all the explanations that are required.”

The 2023 Rugby World Cup begins on September 8 next year, with the final set to take place October 28.

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