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Spain dealt blow in Rugby World Cup hopes after expulsion appeal is thrown out for ineligible player

Spain takes a huge blow in Rugby World Cup hopes after eviction appeal is dismissed after ineligible player drafted into South African-born prop Gavin van den Berg

  • Spain’s expulsion appeal dismissed ahead of World Cup
  • They haven’t been to the tournament since they didn’t leave their group in 1999
  • Gavin van den Berg played twice for Spain against the Netherlands in qualifying

Spain’s appeal over their exclusion from the 2023 Rugby World Cup has been dismissed, putting an end to any hopes the country had of taking part in the tournament in France next year.

Los Leones had qualified through the Rugby Europe Championship and secured a place in Pool B alongside South Africa, Ireland and Scotland in March.

But a World Rugby investigation revealed they had drafted an unfit player in South African-born prop Gavin van den Berg in the qualifying process.

The suitability of South African-born prop Gavin van den Berg was investigated

The suitability of South African-born prop Gavin van den Berg was investigated

Spain promptly got points docked and they were thrown out for the second World Cup in a row.

An appeal was soon filed by the country, but has now been rejected.

Los Leones failed to reach Japan 2019 after beating Belgium in the final qualifying round, and was again deducted points for drafting an unfit player.

Spain suffered a heavy 25-6 defeat to Barbarians earlier in June to make matters worse

Spain suffered a heavy 25-6 defeat to Barbarians earlier in June to make matters worse

Van den Berg was present during Spain’s qualifying campaign, but doubts arose about whether the South African resident had spent the necessary three years in the country to qualify.

World Rugby confirmed on Monday that they had rejected Spain’s request to reverse the decision.

Romania is now likely to take their place in Pool B in what would be their tenth World Cup appearance.

Ven den Berg plays for Sanitas Alcobendas Rugby and has been capitonned by Spain twice

Ven den Berg plays for Sanitas Alcobendas Rugby and has been capitonned by Spain twice

Spain’s wait to make their second appearance at the tournament will now continue, having last played at the 1999 World Cup in Wales.

But they are currently playing one of the best rugbys in their history and are ranked higher than ever before.

Los Leones is number 15 in the world rankings, above the more consistent World Cup teams in the US, Uruguay, Tonga and Romania.

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