With Georgia and Spain securing the region’s two automatic qualification places, it is now between Romania and Portugal to decide which European team will compete at the Final Qualification Tournament for Rugby World Cup 2023.
Portugal picked up a losing bonus point in their 33-28 defeat to Spain on Sunday and are still third in the Rugby World Cup 2023 qualifying table on 26 points, but have no games left.
Os Lobos have a three-point advantage over Romania but should the Oaks win their game in hand away to the Netherlands on Saturday, they will represent Europe at the Final Qualification Tournament as the region’s third-placed team.
📈 | With @GeorgianRugby and @ferugby having taken the automatic spots for @France2023, one spot in the repechage is still up for grabs as @RugbyRomania take on @RugbyNLD next weekend. pic.twitter.com/zjuv0QgyyE— Rugby Europe (@rugby_europe) March 13, 2022
Romania will be overwhelming favourites to get the win they need in Amsterdam as the Netherlands have lost all eight games since their return to this level of competition in 2021 after a 19-year absence and have yet to beat the Oaks in eight previous attempts.
Andy Robinson’s team will also take great heart, if not the win, from their performance against Georgia as they look to keep their Rugby World Cup dream alive. The result was in the balance right until the final whistle, Romania just coming up short, 26-23.
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With the win, Georgia have secured their place in Pool C at Rugby World Cup 2023 as Europe 1, and they will be joined in France by Spain who are set to appear in the game’s flagship tournament for a second time, as Europe 2, after defeating Portugal 33-28 in a match for the ages.
The result put Los Leones on the front page of Marca, the most read daily newspaper in Spain. Spain’s only previous appearance at a Rugby World Cup was in 1999 but they can now look forward to fixtures against South Africa, Ireland, Scotland and the Asia/Pacific 1 winner in Pool B.
In terms of the Rugby Europe Championship 2022 outcome, Spain’s win means a first title is now within their grasp.
Los Leones are on 17 points and leading the way from four-time defending champions Georgia (15 points) ahead of the two sides meeting in the Dinamo Stadium in Tbilisi on 20 March.