London, Dec 16 (AFP/APP): Former Wales assistant coach Rob Howley has been banned from all involvement in rugby for 18 months, nine of which are suspended, after breaching anti-corruption and betting regulations, the Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) said on Monday.
Howley returned home from Japan shortly before the World Cup began in September after the WRU became aware of possible wrongdoing.
“Howley was withdrawn from his duties with Wales ahead of the 2019 Rugby World Cup as soon as the WRU became aware of a potential breach of regulations and an investigation was immediately launched,” said a statement from the governing body.
“The suspension is backdated to the time of his initial withdrawal from the World Cup, on the 16th September 2019, meaning Howley would be free to return to the game on or after 16th June 2020.”
The 49-year-old former Wales captain had been part of ex-head coach Warren Gatland’s coaching team since 2008.
His departure from the Wales camp in Japan threw the Six Nations’ champions’ preparations into disarray but they went on to reach the semi-finals, where they lost to South Africa.
Howley enjoyed a glittering playing career, making 59 appearances for Wales and captaining his country on 22 occasions.