Cape Town - A bombshell hit the Wales camp as they prepared for their Rugby World Cup opener against Georgia with the news that assistant coach, Rob Howley was sent home amid allegations of betting infringements. 

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According to the Daily Mail, Howley had placed bets on a number of rugby matches, although they did not reveal whether they were linked to the World Cup or not.

Howley now faces a disciplinary hearing into the matter.

The former Welsh scrumhalf played 59 times for his country and twice for the British and Irish Lions. He has been part of the Welsh coaching setup since 2008.

Howley will be charged under regulation 6 of World Rugby's code of conduct. This deals with betting and anti-corruption and states: "No Connected Person shall, directly or indirectly, bet and/or attempt to bet on the outcome or any aspect of any Connected Event and/or receive and/or attempt to receive part or all of the proceeds of any such bet and/or any other benefit in relation to a bet."

If found guilty, Howley could be banned from the game for life. 

The Welsh Rugby Uniion confirmed that Howley was on his way home in a statement which read:  

"The Welsh Rugby Union can confirm that Rob Howley has returned to Wales to assist with an investigation in relation to a potential breach of World Rugby regulation 6, specifically betting on rugby union.

The decision was taken to act immediately in light of recent information passed to the WRU.

No further details can be provided at this stage as this would prejudice the investigation. If required an independent panel will be appointed to hear the case.

Howley has co-operated fully with our initial discussions and we would ask that the media appreciate this is a difficult and personal matter for Rob and that his privacy is respected before an outcome is reached.

Warren Gatland has consulted with senior players and Stephen Jones will be arriving in Japan imminently to link up with the squad as attack coach."

- Compiled by Craig Taylor