Rugby World Cup: Romania could be left out of the big event for a post on Instagram

Rugby World Cup: Romania could be left out of the big event for a post on Instagram

It is a somewhat unusual situation, but it is real. An Instagram post could be the trigger for a new chapter in the story that put Spain out of the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France. Although this time the outcome would have a wink for the Spanish squad. The most curious thing about the case is that the rule that left Spain out due to the presence of the South African-born player Gavin van der Berg , could give him his possible return to the big event. And the most interesting thing about the case is that Romania , the team that denounced Spain, is singled out for the same fault.

In the Spanish newspaper El Mundo an article was published in which they claim that Romania could have violated Rule 8 with the inclusion of Jason Tomane. This rule establishes that a foreign player can be selected if he resides in the country for three years without interruption and with a maximum absence of 60 days. For not complying with that rule, Spain was punished for falsifying Van der Berg’s documentation .

Spain had qualified for the 2023 World Cup in France after finishing second in the 2021/22 Rugby Europe Championship, which was a qualifying event, which meant returning to the big event for the second time in its history, after its participation in Wales 1999. However, after an investigation carried out by an independent committee, World Rugby decided to deduct the 10 points obtained in the victories against the Netherlands (last in the table) due to the improper inclusion of South African Van den Berg.

Spain had already made a similar mistake prior to the 2019 World Cup in Japan and had been sanctioned along with Romania and Belgium. Although they had not qualified directly, they missed out on opportunities to replace Romania and to play in the Repechage. That time, he had included players who had worn the France shirt at a Youth World Cup and were ineligible. On that occasion, El León (as the Iberian team is known) was excluded from the World Cup for irregularly lining up two players, Mathieu Belie and Bastien Fuster, in a match against Belgium.

Now the complications arise for Romania, because they decided to include Tomane, a player of New Zealand origin, on several occasions: a friendly against Uruguay (in June 2021) and four official matches (against the Netherlands in 2021), Spain, Portugal and Georgia (in 2022). The matter is that the Spanish newspaper explains that two years after this debut, it is when it is noticed that the famous Rule 8 was violated.

In 2019, the player posted an image with his wife in Szeged, in the Hungarian city bordering Romania. That post seems to have been from a vacation, however, in February 2022, his wife published another photo that casts doubt on Tomane’s compliance with the rule. “Szegez Synagogue, Hungary 2021, the second largest in Hungary, fourth largest in the world. I can’t believe we lived here for three months in 2019, ″ says his wife in a post.

Spain, before this publication, which after the scandal that was unleashed was deleted from the account of Tomane’s wife, prepares a presentation so that it is considered that the player spent several months outside of Romania, exceeds the 60 days indicated by the norm as maximum except in serious cases. Therefore, it would be the same case as with Van den Berg. According to the Spanish media, there are no documents that justify that the player asked to be exempted for living in a serious situation.

Given this scenario and if Romania is sanctioned, the most that Spain could aspire to would be to reach a playoff, since if they take away the points obtained from the Romanian team for the inclusion of Tomane, the team that would qualify directly for the Cup of the World would be Portugal. In any case, Spain wants to raise the claim in order to have one more chance to go to France.

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