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World Rugby statement: Spain appeal 2023 RWC disqualification

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo/World Rugby via Getty Images)

Spain have launched an appeal against the decision that has seen them thrown out of the 2023 Rugby World Cup where they had qualified to feature in a pool in France that included defending champions South Africa, Ireland and Scotland.

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The alleged tampering of a passport belonging to South African Gavin van den Berg, who played in two recent European qualifying matches, resulted in last month’s April 28 decision by World Rugby to deduct ten points from Spain, a verdict that would see Romania qualify as Europe 2 in Pool B and allow Portugal to replace Romania in the final qualification tournament next November. 

That verdict acknowledged that Spain had the right to lodge an appeal within 14 days of the date of the full written decision of the committee and they have now done so.

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A World Rugby statement read: “Spain have lodged an appeal against the independent judicial committee’s decision in respect of a breach of the World Rugby eligibility regulation in the context of Europe region Rugby World Cup 2023 qualifiers.

“Formal submissions by the union have been received following a short extension of the appeal deadline.

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“On May 5, an independent judicial committee determined that Spain breached the World Rugby eligibility regulation by fielding Gavin van den Berg in two Rugby World Cup 2023 qualification matches. The sanction imposed by the committee included a fine and points deduction resulting in Spain no longer qualifying for Rugby World Cup 2023 in France. The union has appealed the committee’s decision and sanction.

“An independent Appeal Committee comprising Wang Shao Ing (chair), Adam Casselden SC and John Langford will consider the appeal with the hearing date to be confirmed in due course.”

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Turlough 6 hours ago
'Let them keep talking' - Mike Catt claps back over Bok remarks

“You want that – not hatred – but whatever it is that stirs it all up. It’s good.” Agree with this. If you can put a common motivating idea in all your players heads during a game it can produce a real Team perfromance. Erasmus is pretty expert at this. It is quite clear that the comments by Etzebeth, Allende and others were not coincidence and were actioned to create animoisty before the series in order to galvanise the South African mind set. While I understand it, I don’t like it. They result in unnessary vitriol between supporters and for what? I don’t think any of the SA players seriously believe any of these claims and with Ireland ignoring them Erasmus won’t get the escalation he seeks. The vitriol shown by some SA and indeed NZ supporters is extremely weird for NH supporters (OK, maybe England have felt it) but it just feels very odd over a sport. Ireland were more or less sh1t for the first 100 years of their rugby, they have improved significantly in the last 25 to be in a position around now (it may not last) to go into a match with the big guns with a real shot of winning. The reaction to this from some SH supporters has been bizarre with conspiracy theories of ‘Arrogance’ fueling abuse from supporters and even NZ players to Irish crowds during the world cup. I love International rugby and the comraderie between supporters. I genuinely dread and dislike the atmosphere around games with the southern giants. They take this very personally. NH teams: play them, try and beat them, enjoy the craic with their players and supporters and wish them well. SH teams wish them well and they call you arrogant in the press months later. Its just a matter of try and beat them and then good riddance til the next time.

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