The Russian team will not take part in the 2023 Rugby World Cup, the main tournament in this sport, which takes place every four years. The domestic team had to qualify there through another competition – the European Championship, but they were awarded technical defeats in all the remaining championship matches. Such a decision, taken by the World Cup Council because of the events in Ukraine, will allow another team, the Georgian team, to get to the world championship.
The Russian rugby team has become another victim of the sanctions that Russian sports have faced amid the Ukrainian crisis. She, according to Insidethegames, will not be able to perform at the World Cup, which will be held in France in the fall of 2023. The organizers decided to remove the national team from participating in the qualifying matches, which are now taking place within the framework of another tournament – the European Championship, against the backdrop of Russia’s military special operation in Ukraine.
The Rugby World Cup is the main event in this sport. The tournament is held every four years. The 20 strongest national teams are selected there: some of them, who successfully performed at the previous Cup, go through automatically, another part through qualifying competitions. The World Cup enjoys tremendous popularity among the audience.
The previous one, held in 2019 in Japan, turned out to be the most requested rugby competition in history, with over 857 million viewers in total.
The Russian men’s team, which now occupies the 20th place in the world rugby ranking, managed to break into the World Cup twice. For the first time – in 2011: then, having become the last in her group, she did not reach the playoffs. Then – in 2019, but the Russians again did not perform very well: again they were the last in the group, finishing with zero points.
The chances of qualifying for the World Cup for the third time were with the domestic team, however, very modest. In the standings of the European Championship before the disqualification, she occupied the fifth, penultimate position, and to get into the World Cup it was necessary to get into the top two. The Russian team had three matches to play – with the national teams of Georgia, Portugal and the Netherlands. And only one was easy among them – against the main outsiders, the Dutch.
The first match of the Russians with the Georgian team, scheduled for February 27, the organizers of the continental championship first decided to postpone – because of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict – indefinitely. Then the Russian national team was completely disqualified, and all its rivals were awarded four points for the failed matches. This allowed the Georgian team to secure at least second place and, accordingly, guaranteed it a ticket to the World Cup.
Previously, Russian rugby players have already been awarded a portion of sanctions. In early March, the International Rugby Federation (World Rugby), referring to the recommendations of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), suspended the membership of the Russian Rugby Federation, and also suspended Russia and Belarus from international competitions.