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Gatland: Rob Howley is devastated by the allegations

Wales head coach Warren Gatland

Warren Gatland has been open in saying he and the Wales squad have been left ‘shocked’ by Rob Howley having to be sent home amid allegations of breaching betting rules.

The Wales attack coach left Japan on Tuesday as World Rugby launches an investigation into a number of bets he made on rugby matches.

And with kick-off against Georgia on Monday verging onto the horizon, Gatland wants his team to focus on rugby and rugby alone. Bet on the World Cup for Wales to do well in Japan.

“We were shocked by it,” Gatland told Sky Sports. “I texted Rob to see how he got home and that he was OK.

“At the moment, these are allegations. Rob is devastated by the allegations.

“It took a bit of time to sink in. It is now how we turn a difficult situation into a positive one.

“You have to deal with adversity at times, the players have really stepped up. We have got to draw a line in the sand.

“My focus has to be on preparing the team for the first World Cup game against Georgia. It hasn’t really altered preparations. It will focus us. It is important we focus on the rugby.”

Former Wales fly-half Stephen Jones, set to join the WRU in 2020 as part of Wayne Pivac’s staff, has landed in Japan to act as the replacement for Howley who is suspended pending the outcome of the investigation.

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