Wales have become embroiled in a betting scandal a matter of days before the World Cup kicks off in Japan after assistant coach Rob Howley was sent home for allegedly breaching World Rugby betting rules.
MailOnline are reporting Howley’s absence from the team’s camp comes as he is about to be charged for breaching World Rugby regulation 6, which concerns anti-corruption and betting.
There are six days to go until Wales’ big kick-off against Georgia in their pool opener of the 2019 Rugby World Cup.
His time in Japan now appears to be at an end as he travels back to the UK to await a disciplinary hearing.
Once World Rugby formally bring charges against Howley, he will be suspended from any input with any professional rugby team.
The severity of the situation remains unclear with World Rugby yet to comment, however a worst-case scenario could see Howley banned from rugby for life.
Wales head coach and the team’s hierachy have moved quickly to arrange Stephen Jones, the Scarlets coach who will join Wayne Pivac’s coaching line-up in 2020, as a replacement.
Howley has been one of the most senior figures during Gatland’s time as head coach, not just as Wales coach but also of the British & Irish Lions on their 2013 and 2017 tours.
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