Next year’s World Cup is over for some South Africans before it even started.

That after World Rugby on Wednesday awarded Russia a place at the global showpiece at the expense of Spain, Romania and Belgium, who have been disqualified for fielding ineligible players during qualifiers.

That means SA imports Jody Rose, Dumani Mtya and Johannes van Heerden, who all played for the Romania team will miss out on the tournament in Japan.

Russia had finished third in European qualifying for the World Cup but head to the tournament after Romania (who originally won the section), second-placed Spain and fourth-placed Belgium were all docked points for fielding ineligible players.

The controversy kicked off when Spain’s rugby federation (FER) demanded a rematch of their loss to Belgium, which ultimately allowed Romania to qualify at their expense for next year’s showpiece in Japan.

Romania have appealed the decision and says they took the appropriate steps to field Sione Faka’osilea, who also played for the Tonga Sevens team.

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