SPAIN has been thrown out of the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France after fielding an ineligible player in two qualifying matches.

The decision was made by an independent judicial committee.

Spain secured a World Cup place for the first time since 1999 with a 33-28 victory over Portugal in March to finish second in the Rugby Europe Championship.

The committee imposed a 10-point deduction and a financial sanction.

It means Romania will take Spain’s place next year in France.

Portugal in turn will replace Romania in the Final Qualification Tournament in November this year.

The committee found that Gavin Van den Berg, who is of South African origin, had falsified his date of entry into Spain in order to comply with eligibility requirements.

It is the second time Spain have been denied a place at the Rugby World Cup for fielding ineligible players.

Prior to the 2019 tournament, they were sanctioned alongside Romania and Belgium for repeatedly using ineligible players during the qualifying competition.

The committee imposed a £25,000 fine over Van den Berg and said that a suspended penalty of £50,000 over 2019 qualification irregularities would also kick in.

Spain can appeal within 14 days of the date of the full written decision of the committee.


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