Wales attack coach Rob Howley has been forced to leave their camp days before the start of the Rugby World Cup in Japan after being implicated in a betting scandal.
Howley was removed after being named at the centre of an investigation in relation to a potential breach of World Rugby regulation 6, specifically betting on rugby union.
News of his departure comes as a surprise to many in the Welsh camp who have worked with Howley over the past 11 years in his role as Warren Gatland’s right-hand man. Gatland also coached Howley during their time at Wasps. However, it is believed that the Kiwi coach only became aware of the issue in Japan this afternoon.
BREAKING: Wales assistant coach Rob Howley has been sent home from the Rugby World Cup amid allegations of betting offences.
— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) September 17, 2019
Former out-half Stephen Jones has come into camp to replace Howley with immediate effect. It’s a little earlier than planned for Jones who was due to take over as the Welsh attack coach following the conclusion on the tournament in Japan.
The news threatens to derail a Welsh camp that has thus far had no hiccups in what is meant to be a parting farewell to Gatland and his coaching staff after 11 fruitful years in charge.
They are continuing preparations for their World Cup opener against Georgia on Monday. The team will travel to Toyota City on Thursday.