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Warren Gatland says??the Wales team were”shocked” by the news of Rob Howley’s alleged violation of World Rugby’s gambling and anti-corruption regulations.
On Tuesday, Wales assistant trainer Howley was sent home by the Rugby World Cup six days before their championship opener against Georgia, and has been suspended from all things relating to rugby.
He will be banned from the championship pending a disciplinary hearing. Meanwhile is flying out to replace him.
“We’re shocked by it,” Gatland told a press conference in Kitakyushu on Wednesday.
“At the present time, all these are allegations. Rob is devastated by the allegations.”
The former Wales captain was part of the coaching team of Gatland since 2008.
Gatland added:”It took a bit of time to sink . It’s the way we turn a challenging situation.
“I texted Rob to see just how he got home and that he was OK.”
The 56-year-old coach confessed:”You have to deal with hardship occasionally the players have really stepped down. We’ve to draw a line in the sand.
“My attention has to be on preparing the group for the first World Cup game against Georgia. It has altered preparations. We will be focused by it. It’s important we concentrate on the rugby.”
Chief executive Martyn Phillips stated in sending Howley house, the Welsh Rugby Union needed to act.
“We had been contacted on Wednesday last week, then contacted formally with some additional info on Friday,” explained Phillips.
“We needed to be fast and decisive. We were conscious that we behaved in ways you would anticipate a body to act.
“After open training on Monday, we sat down with Rob. He was very co-operative. The formal process will continue back in Wales.
“There’ll be an evaluation. It is a fairly serious allegation. The investigation hasn’t started. There are agencies to handle. My focus is about doing this correctly.
“We’ve made a switch, and I think we stay with that shift today. Stephen is now coming and he’s responsible for the course.”
World Rugby also has said that it”fully supports” the Welsh Rugby Union’s”proactive approach” over the Howley allegations.
A statement titled:”World Rugby was educated from the Welsh Rugby Union of a prospective violation of World Rugby Legislation 6 (especially betting on rugby) by a member of the union’s RWC 2019 coaching team.
“World Rugby completely affirms the WRU’s proactive approach for the issue and can confirm that the union is keeping us advised of the first discussions.
“It might be improper to comment further? On an evolving and open process.”

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