Rugby World Cup

Betting scandal rocks Wales’ World Cup preparations

Turmoil: Warren Gatland (pic: Terry Murden)

Wales’ World Cup preparations have been thrown into turmoil after coach Rob Howley was sent home from Japan for an alleged breach of the sport’s betting regulations.

Howley has returned to assist with an investigation into a potential breach of World Rugby regulation 6, which relates specifically to betting on rugby union.

The former international scrum-half has been part of the Welsh management team for over 10 years and was due to leave his post after the tournament.

Confirming the news, the Welsh Rugby Union said in a statement: “The WRU can confirm that Rob Howley has returned to Wales to assist with an investigation in relation to a potential breach of World Rugby regulation 6, specifically betting on rugby union.

“The decision was taken to act immediately in light of recent information passed to the WRU.

“No further details can be provided at this stage as this would prejudice the investigation. If required an independent panel will be appointed to hear the case.

“Rob has co-operated fully with our initial discussions and we would ask that the media appreciate this is a difficult and personal matter for Rob and that his privacy is respected before an outcome is reached.

“Warren Gatland has consulted with senior players and Stephen Jones will be arriving in Japan imminently to link up with the squad as attack coach.”

World Rugby’s regulation 6.3.1 states: “No connected person shall, directly or indirectly, bet and/or attempt to bet on the outcome or any aspect of any connected event and/or receive and/or attempt to receive part or all of the proceeds of any such bet and/or any other benefit in relation to a bet.”

Wales kick-off their World Cup challenge on Monday against Georgia.

Scotland get their campaign under way on Sunday when they take on Ireland, kick-off 8.45am.

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