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Rob Howley has “gone through hell” since being suspended for an alleged breach of World Rugby betting rules, says former Wales coach Warren Gatland.
Ex-Wales backs coach Howley was sent home before the World Cup in Japan and is awaiting the outcome of a Welsh Rugby Union investigation.
Gatland says Howley did nothing illegal and missing the World Cup was the absolute punishment.
“He’s felt he’s let a lot of people down,” said Gatland.
Speaking to the Rugby Union Weekly podcast, Gatland added: “I spoke to him a couple of days ago and during the World Cup.
“It’s been the hardest six or seven weeks of his life, he’s been emotionally through absolute hell and there’s an investigation that’s been going on.”
Gatland stepped down after 12 years in charge of Wales at the end of the tournament in Japan, when Howley’s contract was also due to end.
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The pair have had a 17-year association at Wasps and Wales, with Gatland saying the incident has had a big effect on the former Wales scrum-half.
“Hopefully in the next couple of weeks there’ll be a result from that, but I know emotionally it’s been incredibly tough on himself and his family and he’s been so apologeti
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