Spain players lodged a formal complaint over Romanian referee Vlad Iordachescu’s handling of their defeat by Belgium, which meant Romania qualified

Russia have qualified for next year’s Rugby World Cup after Spain, Belgium and Romania were sanctioned for fielding ineligible players.

Spain had hoped for a reprieve after an investigation into their defeat by Belgium, which meant Romania qualified.

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

Russia therefore join Ireland, Scotland and hosts Japan in Pool A, while Germany meet Portugal in a play-off.

The winners of that go into a Europe/Oceania play-off against Samoa for the chance to complete Pool A at next year’s global showpiece.

A World Rugby statement