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Howley banned from rugby for 9 months for betting breaches

CARDIFF, Wales (AP) — Former Wales assistant coach Rob Howley was banned from rugby for nine months Monday for breaching betting rules, including putting money on a player in his team scoring a try during a Six Nations match.

Howley received an 18-month ban from the Welsh Rugby Union but nine months were suspended. Howley, who played 59 times for Wales as a scrumhalf and also captained his country, was sent home from the Rugby World Cup in Japan in September after an investigation was launched.

Howley was found to have placed 363 bets with three separate bookmakers covering a total of 1,163 rugby matches over a period of five years. Some of them involved matches involving Wales and two of them included betting on players representing Wales scoring tries.

In one bet, he put money on a Wales player — who was not named — being the first try scorer in a Six Nations match against Ireland in March 2019. Both the players who were the subjects of the bets were interviewed, with the judgment saying they "denied any knowledge of the bets."

The WRU said Howley lost about 4,000 pounds on his bets and that the trigger for something he described as a “hobby” was a family tragedy involving the death of his sister. The suspension was backdated, meaning Howley will be free to return to the game on or after June 16.

Howley left his coaching role with Wales after the World Cup following the departure of head coach Warren Gatland. He played for the British and Irish Lions in 1997 and 2001, and was part of the Lions coaching staff on their last three tours.

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