Ireland discover new Rugby World Cup opponents after independent disputes committee's decision

The winners will then face Samoa, with the victorious side sealing the final place in Ireland's World Cup pool.

"While the independent disputes committee has determined that mistakes were not made in bad faith by Rugby Europe and some participating unions, World Rugby is extremely disappointed with the unfortunate and avoidable events".

"No further comment will be made while the 14-day appeal window is open".

Russian Federation were third in their European qualifying group but are now going through after Romania (group winners), Spain (second) and Belgium (fourth) were docked points for fielding ineligible players.

Initially, Spain demanded a rematch after they lost to Belgium to allow Romania to qualify at their expense.

Eligibility for global rugby is a notoriously complicated affair, with countries often nominating their own choice of "capture" level team that ensures a player can not then switch nationalities.

Manu Samoa are yet to qualify for the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

But the panel ruled that all three countries broke eligibility rules and have been deducted points.

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This equated to 30 points for Romania, for fielding one ineligible player in six matches, 30 for Belgium, for playing five players deemed ineligible in a total of six matches, and 40 for Spain for playing two former French Under-20 French in eight matches.

"In order to maximise Samoa's preparation for these important matches, World Rugby is also funding Samoa's entry into the 2018 World Rugby Pacific Nations Cup in Fiji between 9-16 June, which features Fiji, Georgia and Tonga".

As a result, Belgium was fined £125,000 ($170,000), suspended for a period of five years conditional that no breaches occur during that period.

"Participation in the World Cup must not be concluded by such a decision".

"Subject to any appeal of the disputes committee's decision, the victor of the European play-off between Germany and Portugal, provisionally scheduled for 9 June will play Samoa home and away in the play-off to determine the final Pool A place".

World Rugby said it will oversee the appointments of all future match officials in Rugby World Cup qualifiers.

'World Rugby sent an e-mail address from the chairman of the Tongan Union, Mr. Fe'ao Vunipola, whom the RRU addressed in order to check if, from the statistical data the unions has, [if] the player Sione Faka'osilea is eligible or not.

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