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The Welsh squad has been rocked after a key figure in their coaching set-up, Rob Howley, was sent home from the Rugby World Cup.

It has been reported that the Wales attack coach was forced to leave the squad's Kitakyushu training base in Japan for an alleged breach of World Rugby's gambling regulations.

The former Wales captain and scrum-half was absent from the capping ceremony on Monday, having attended their opening training session earlier that day.

It is understood that Howley has returned to Wales to assist in a WRU investigation into the potential breach while his dismissal comes as a devastating blow to the Six Nations Champions' quest to try and win their first World Cup.

The 58-year-old has been head coach Warren Gatland's right-hand-man in his 11 years at the helm while he was also coached by Gatland as a scrum-half with Wasps.

Howley captained his country 22 times in 59 appearances while he also played for the British and Irish Lions in 1997 and 2001 before becoming a member of the Lions coaching staff on the last three tours.

Wales Online reports that Gatland only became aware of the issue in Japan on Tuesday and, after meeting with his senior player group, made the decision to bring in Stephen Jones to replace Howley with immediate effect.

Jones had already been lined up to take up the role after the World Cup while there had been speculation that Howley could replace Conor O'Shea as the head coach of Italy.

The World Cup in Japan is the last tournament that Gatland will be in charge of the Welsh and they get their campaign underway this Monday when they face Georgia in their Pool D opener.

The Georgians are currently ranked 12th in the world.

Wales v Georgia will kick off at the City of Toyota Stadium 11:15am on Monday.

Meanwhile, Springboks assistant coach Matt Proudfoot wants the focus of the world to be on South Africa's rugby, rather than accusations of doping at some levels of the sport.

Proudfoot responded to questions from Off The Ball's Eoin Sheahan about the continued problem of doping in South African rugby, particular at under-age and schools level - but he was not interested in delving into the issue.

You can watch that video here.

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