March 27, 2018 / 12:09 PM / a month ago

Rugby-Russia seeks clarification on Romanian player eligibility

(Reuters) - The Russian rugby federation (FRR) is seeking clarification about Romanian international Sione Faka’osilea’s eligibility to play in the European championship, the FRR said in a statement.

The FRR sent a formal request for information after local media reported that Tonga-born Faka’osilea was not eligible to represent Romania in international competition after playing for his native country’s rugby sevens team.

“We consider it absolutely unacceptable to blame anyone before a thorough investigation by the competent authorities of Rugby Europe and World Rugby, therefore we will send relevant inquiries to these organisations,” the FRR said.

The Romanian federation was not immediately available for comment when contacted by Reuters.

Faka’osilea made his Romania debut in the Rugby Europe Championship against Russia in Sochi in March, 2017. He has played in 12 tests since.

This year’s Rugby Europe Championship also serves as the European qualifying tournament for the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan. Georgia have secured qualification automatically and Romania booked their place in the tournament after finishing second ahead of Spain and Russia.

The third-placed team will meet Portugal in a playoff on April 4 and the winners face Samoa in a two-legged playoff for a World Cup place.

Tahiti were kicked out of World Cup qualifying last week after they were found to have breached player eligibility regulations in an Oceania Cup match.

Reporting by Angel Krasimirov, editing by Ed Osmond

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