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Welsh Rugby Coach Quits Cup After Betting Scandal

September 20, 2019

- Grant Whittington

In a shock to fans and organisers alike, Welsh rugby union team coach Rob Howley has been sent home from the Rugby World Cup in Japan following allegations of ‘betting misconduct’. The former Wales captain has allegedly violated the laws of World Rugby, and more specifically, those pertaining to wagering and corruption.

The 48-year-old captain’s sudden departure from the event has come as a massive blow to his Welsh team. The team was just about to head into its first World Cup game against Georgia at the time. A stand-in coach will soon arrive to lead the team through the prestigious international rugby event.

Formal Investigation Launched

According to a recent statement from WRU, the Welsh Rugby Union, Rob Howley has now returned to Wales to take part in an investigation. The investigation, they said, is related to a possible breach of World Rugby Regulation 6, which governs betting on rugby union games.

The regulation mentioned above states that no individual with any form of connection, direct or indirect, to a rugby event can attempt to bet on its outcome or any other aspects of the event. Furthermore, such people cannot receive any proceeds, monetary or otherwise, through the placement of such a wager.

Howley Cooperates Completely

The WRU has not given any more details about the scandal, as it does not want to create bias during the upcoming investigation. The organisation did confirm that Howley has agreed to cooperate fully with the initial talks at hand. An independent panel will hear the case soon, and the investigation itself will be led by the Welsh Rugby Union. The organisation did not hear the news until the Welsh team had already left for Japan.

The WRU was first made aware of the allegations against Howley after being contacted by a gambling industry-based integrity team. The union was informed about an alleged issue on Wednesday, 11 September – the same day on which the Welsh team and its management boarded their flight to Japan. On Friday, 13 September, the WRU received further information about the possible breach, and quickly contacted World Rugby. This was the start of the official investigation that is still ongoing now.

More About Rob Howley’s Career

Rob Howley is a renowned Welsh coach who was expected to finish with Wales after this year’s World Cup in Japan. Circulating rumours have linked Howley to the head coaching job for Italy, although nothing has been confirmed just yet. Current head coach of the Italian team, Connor O’Shea, will likely be leaving his current role next year, leaving an opening in his wake.

Howley also had a famed career as a rugby player, playing for Wales 59 times as a scrum half. He also served as captain for 22 of those games. Howley was chosen for the 1997 and 2001 British and Lions tours, and appeared in the first 2 tests of the Australian 2001 tour.

The former captain has furthermore served as an attack coach for Wales under Warren Gatland since 2008. Later in 2013, Gatland took a hiatus as the head coach of Wales to take the British and Irish Lions in the summer. Howley filled in as head coach and led Wales to a victory at the Six Nations. Howley also acted as attack coach in the 2009, 2013 and 2017 editions of the British and Irish Lions tour.

Now, after the captain’s sudden departure, former British and Irish Lions and Wales out-half Stephen Jones will be heading up the Welsh team in Japan. He will serve as the team’ attack coach during the entirely of the World Cup

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