Wales attack coach Rob Howley, right hand man of the country’s head coach Warren Gatland for the past 11 years, has been forced to leave the team camp at the Rugby World Cup in Japan after becoming embroiled in a betting scandal.
Howley is on his way home.
News of their attack coach’s alleged breach of World Rugby regulation 6, specifically betting on rugby union, has rocked this year’s Grand Slam champions who are one of the favourites to win the Webb Ellis Trophy.
The news sours the last project of Gatland and threatens to derail their entire bid for World Cup success in a tournament that was supposed to be a wonderful swansong for Gatland and his coaching staff.
Wales’ preparation could hardly have gone better up to this point, but the Howley news has rocked the Welsh squad with the Rugby World Cup kick-off less than four days away.
Wales play their first match against Georgia in Toyota City in less than six days.
Howley was head coach Warren Gatland’s right hand man for the last 11 years, and their relationship goes back further with Gatland coaching the former Wales scrumhalf during their time at Wasps.
The WRU have acted quickly. Gatland, along with the senior player group, have decided to turn to Stephen Jones, who will replace Howley with immediate effect. Jones was due to take over as Wales attack coach after the tournament in.