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  1. ITV Report

Russia automatically qualify for Rugby World Cup after Spain, Belgium and Romania are penalised

Russia have automatically qualified for next year's Rugby World Cup Credit: PA

Russia have automatically qualified for next year's World Cup after Spain, Belgium and Romania were penalised for fielding ineligible players.

An independent committee sanctioned the offending countries by docking points that has led to a revision of the 2018 Rugby European Championship table, which also determines entry into the global showpiece.

It sees Russia replace Romania in second place, resulting in their elevation into Japan 2019 behind Georgia, who had already made it through on the strength of their performance at the last World Cup.