Former Wales assistant coach Rob Howley was banned from all rugby activities for breaching World Rugby’s anti-corruption and betting regulations, on this day in 2019.
Howley was banned for 18 months, with nine months suspended, after it emerged he had placed bets on matches involving Wales and two of their players.
It was found that, over a four-year period from November 2015 to September 2019, Howley placed 363 bets involving 1,163 rugby matches with three bookmakers through accounts held under his own name.
Of the bets, 24 involved Wales or were related to “connected events”, such as Six Nations games involving rival teams. On two occasions he bet on unnamed Wales players scoring tries.
Howley was sent home from Japan shortly before the 2019 World Cup began after the WRU became aware of possible wrongdoing.
The alarm was first raised when WRU policy and integrity manager Jeremy Rogers was contacted by an employee of Betway, who claimed that Howley had placed bets on Wales games.
It emerged that Howley gambled on a Wales player to be the first try-scorer in the 25-7 Six Nations victory over Ireland in March, but he stated that it was part of a treble that fell in line with his normal recreational betting activity. He also backed another player to score a try.
When the unnamed players were interviewed they denied any knowledge that the bets had been placed on them, with Howley supporting their testimony.
The WRU found that Howley made an overall loss of £4,000 during the time period under scrutiny and described his activity as a “hobby”, while adding that “we use the word hobby with some caution because it seems that a trigger for Mr Howley’s betting activity was a family tragedy involving the death of his sister”.
Howley returned to coaching with Canada after serving his ban and, in December, was appointed as technical coach with Wales ahead of the 2024 Six Nations.