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World Rugby statement on the dramatic 'implications' of Russia's ban

By Kim Ekin
(Photo by Francois Nel/World Rugby via Getty Images)

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World Rugby have confirmed that their suspension of Russia and Belarus from all international and cross-border rugby competitions has now resulted in Georgia qualifying for the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France after the abandonment of matches in the 2022 Rugby Europe Championship

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The Rugby World Cup Board met yesterday to confirm impacts on RWC qualification after Russia were suspended from all international and cross-border rugby.

Russia’s ban means they cannot compete in the outstanding Rugby World Cup qualification matches in the Rugby Europe Championship 2022 and therefore these matches will be treated as abandoned, with existing results in Rugby Europe 2021 and 2022 to stand, while their remaining opponents will be awarded four match points.

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A World Rugby statement read: “Russia has been suspended from all international and cross-border rugby and the Rugby World Cup board met Wednesday to confirm impacts on RWC qualification.

“Russia’s suspension means they cannot compete in the outstanding RWC qualification matches in the Rugby Europe Championship 2022 and therefore these matches will be treated as abandoned.

“Existing results in REC 2021 and 2022 to stand and Russia’s remaining opponents to be awarded four match points. Updated standings means Georgia has secured its place at Rugby World Cup 2023.

“The Lelos are now guaranteed a top-two finish in the combined Rugby Europe Championship 2021 and 2022 standings with two games in hand against Romania (March 12) and Spain (March 20). Georgia are unbeaten in the championship, winning eight and drawing one, and have accrued 35 points – ten more than third-placed Portugal who only have one game left to play.

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“Georgia are therefore the 15th team to qualify for Rugby World Cup 2023, following in the footsteps of Samoa and Uruguay who secured their places via the regional qualification process in 2021. They will have to wait a little longer to officially confirm their Europe 1 qualification status, which would see them join familiar Rugby World Cup opponents Wales, Australia and Fiji, as well as the final qualification tournament winner in Pool C.

“Spain, Portugal and Romania are all firmly in contention to secure the second European ticket to France 2023 on the pitch. The team finishing second in the combined standings at the end of the Rugby Europe Championship 2022 will qualify as Europe 2 and join defending champions South Africa, Ireland, Scotland and Asia/Pacific 1 in Pool B, while the third-ranked team will advance to the Final Qualification Tournament organised in November 2022.”

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