Russia have qualified for the 2019 Rugby World Cup after Romania, Spain and Belgium were docked points for repeatedly using ineligible players during the qualifying competition, World Rugby said on Tuesday.
World Rugby docked the three nations five match points for each ineligible player used – 30 points for Romania and Belgium and 40 for Spain.
After a “remodelling” of the qualification process, Russia emerged top to advance to next year’s tournament in Japan.
Germany, who have never been in the World Cup, now have another chance as they are promoted to face Portugal in a play-off, with the winners facing Samoa for a place in the tournament.
Spain’s appeal to replay their match against Belgium, when a Romanian referee was in charge and Spain’s defeat sent Romania through at their expense, was rejected.
All the decisions are subject to appeal.