Russia vs. USA Has Strange World Cup Connection

Peter Malcolm Talks Eagle Pack

The United States' upcoming Summer Series matchup against Russia has its own Rugby World Cup-tinged flavor now, and it's all because a bunch of Belgians, Spaniards, and Romanians got angry.

Of course, most Eagles fans know that the USA qualified for the 2019 Rugby World Cup almost a year ago. That's been good news for the Eagles, as they have been able to prepare for Tokyo for longer than usual, continuing with this Saturday's test vs. Russia in Denver.

However, the Russians just found out they will be going to Japan, too, and learned the news in a strange way.

Watch USA vs. Russia LIVE on FloRugby

Saturday, June 9 | 7 PM CT

It all started on March 18 when Belgium hosted Spain during the final weekend of the Rugby Europe Championship, which is a second tier behind the Six Nations. Spain looked set to claim second behind Georgia and, as a result, secure an automatic spot in the World Cup.

But, the game didn't go as planned. Belgium played with tenacity, and Spain got impatient. The Spanish got into penalty trouble—a lot of penalty trouble—and after the game, an 18-10 Belgium victory, blamed the referee.

The Spanish players did not coat themselves with glory in how they reacted after the game, but many felt they had a beef. The refereeing team, after all, was made up of officials from Romania, and a Spanish loss would mean Romania, not Spain, would get that second World Cup place.

After Rugby Europe was unable to resolve the issue, World Rugby got involved. And the upshot was even uglier. Belgium was found to have used ineligible players. Romania was found to have used ineligible players. In addition, Spain was found to have used ineligible players. There was no way anyone was going to replay all the games in which these teams fielded players who shouldn't have been on the field. 

So, instead, World Rugby decided to deduct five standings points for every game in which a team fielded ineligible players. The result was a points bloodbath, with Romania dropping to last place with minus-11 points. Spain ended up with minus-7, and Belgium finished with minus-6.

The team left standing? Russia. The Russians went 2-3, losing close games to Spain, Romania, and Georgia and beating Belgium and Germany.

Having finished second by virtue of not cheating, the Bears take the Europe 1 spot (Georgia had already qualified).

All of that means there is much at stake in this weekend's clash between the U.S. and Russia. There's a burgeoning rivalry that has overheated at times. There's the international rivalry that hasn't really cooled off over the decades. And now, this is a clash of two World Cup teams looking to start their campaigns.

Cal Welcomes 12-Player Freshmen Class

The Drama Of Jesuit's HS Nationals Victory

The University of California men's rugby program has announced the addition of 12 freshmen to its program.

Welsh Star Halfpenny: "My Legs Are Killing Me' Before Kicking Penalty


Leigh Halfpenny admitted his legs were "killing" him as he stepped up to take the penalty that sealed Wales's 13-6 win over England on his return to Test rugby after a prolonged absence due to concussion.

Veteran Parra 'Not Bitter' After France World Cup Omission

Clermont Lifts The Challenge Cup Trophy

Experienced scrum-half Morgan Parra said on Monday he is not "bitter" about being left out of France's squad for this year's Rugby World Cup.

WPL Round 1 Wrap-Up: New Kids On The Block Making Noise

Round 1 of the WPL kicked off this weekend, with eight of its ten teams squaring off. 

West Coast 7s Returns Amid Broader Questions

In The Huddle At The West Coast 7s

The West Coast 7s is back on FloRugby this fall and the hugely important collegiate tournament is still smack in the middle of the great ongoing college rugby debate—seasonality.

Whose World Cup Contender Chances Rise And Fall?

Does getting to #1 in the World make Wales a World Cup contender? Maybe. Let's look.

Massive Statements In Summer Tests

Wales moved to #1 in the World Rugby rankings after beating England 13-6 Saturday in Cardiff.

England, Wales Name Lineups For Saturday Rematch

Miss Pass: It All Starts Now

England and Wales meet for the second time in six days this Saturday at the Principality stadium in Cardiff at 9:15 am (ET). 

FloRugby's Dream Teams From Club 7s Championships

Top Tries From 2019 Club 7s

FloRugby's Dream Teams for the USA Rugby Club 7s Championships are out.

Weekend Watch Guide: Summer Tests Series Heats Up

Miss Pass: It All Starts Now

This weekend, there are two huge fixtures on tap LIVE and On Demand here on FloRugby!