Warren Gatland: Wales boss believes Rob Howley should be forgiven for breaching betting rules
Head coach Warren Gatland believes Rob Howley should be forgiven for breaching betting rules and should have been allowed the opportunity to rejoin the Wales coaching staff.
Howley worked alongside Gatland in his first tenure as Wales’ head coach but was sent home from Japan on the eve of the 2019 Rugby World Cup. He was banned for 18 months, nine of which were suspended, after he breached World Rugby’s betting rules.
The former Wales attack coach has since rebuilt his career with Canada and was linked with a return to Wales’ coaching staff. It is understood that senior figures at the Welsh Rugby Union blocked Gatland’s efforts to reunite with Rob Howley.
Instead, Alex King joined the backroom with Jonathan Thomas (contact area), joining Alex King (attack), Jonathan Humphreys (forwards), Mike Forshaw (defence) and kicking specialist Neil Jenkins.
“It has been over three years now”
Gatland was clearly unhappy with the decision to block Howley’s return.
“I have got a huge amount of respect for Rob as a rugby coach,” Gatland said after announcing his Six Nations squad.
“I suppose the information given to me was that the timing wasn’t right.
“You would like to think that if anyone was going to be forgiving, it would be the Welsh forgiving their own.
“It has been over three years now, but that is not the case at the moment.
“Hopefully, Rob will continue to be involved in rugby. He has been involved with Canada, and he has had the backing of World Rugby, who have been funding that position.
“I just think I would like to see him involved at the highest possible level again in the future.”
Louis Rees-Zammit’s fitness
Gatland’s squad for the Six Nations includes Gloucester winger Louis Rees-Zammit. However, it is unlikely that he will be available for the opening game against Ireland on February 4 in Cardiff.
“We are hoping he will be available for the England game (on February 25),” Gatland explained.
“We want to have the ability to give him some treatment and having a new attack coach to work with him as well. The indications are he should be up and running for the England game.”
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