Wales coach Howley sent home from World Cup amid betting allegations

Wales assistant coach Rob Howley has been sent home from the World Cup in Japan amid allegations of betting infringements.

Howley, who has been part of the Wales coaching setup since 2008, is now subject of a Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) investigation in relation to a potential breach of World Rugby rules over betting on rugby.

World Rugby is keeping a close eye on the outcome of the WRU's investigation and if Howley is found guilty to have placed bets on rugby union matches, he will be charged under Regulation 6, which addresses anti-corruption and betting in rugby.

Regulation 6.3.1 reads: "No connected person shall, directly or indirectly, bet and/or attempt to bet on the outcome or any aspect of any connected event and/or receive and/or attempt to receive part or all of the proceeds of any such bet and/or any other benefit in relation to a bet."

Howley, a former Wales captain, made 59 international appearances and was selected for the 1997 and 2001 British & Irish Lions tours. He has been a key part of Warren Gatland's backroom staff since taking the job ahead of the 2008 Six Nations and also travelled as a coach on the 2009, 2013 and 2017 Lions tours.

A statement from the WRU read: "The decision was taken to act immediately in light of recent information passed to the WRU.

"No further details can be provided at this stage as this would prejudice the investigation. If required an independent panel will be appointed to hear the case.

"Rob has co-operated fully with our initial discussions and we would ask that the media appreciate this is a difficult and personal matter for Rob and that his privacy is respected before an outcome is reached."

Howley, 48, was due to leave his position as assistant coach after the World Cup and has been heavily linked with the soon-to-be vacant Italy role.

The news comes just six days before Wales' Rugby World Cup opener against Georgia in Toyota.