Rob Howley has claimed he wouldn’t wish his recent ordeal which led to his suspension from rugby on his own worst enemy. The ex-Wales assistant was sent home in disgrace from the World Cup in Japan after he was accused of placing bets on matches.


It was December when an investigation concluded the former scrum-half had placed 363 bets on games over a four-year period, an issue triggered by the alcoholism and eventual death of his sister. 

He was banned from working in rugby for 18 months, the last nine months suspended, and he has now taken his first steps back in the game, securing a three-year deal with Canada that encompasses the 2023 World Cup and will also see Howley work as a consultant for the Toronto Arrows for the 2021 Major League Rugby season.

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Speaking about his traumatic experience, Howley told the UK Telegraph: “It has all been traumatic for everyone involved and I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. I feel as if I have been in lockdown longer than most. I have made my apologies and I accept my responsibility in it all.

“There will always be people who have a certain view of me, but I am just delighted to be able now to look forward rather than backwards. It has been a tough, tough challenge for my family especially, but after the professional help I received, I now understand the reasons behind it all and I like to think I am now a better character, a stronger person. 

“I have never even been to Canada, so a wholly different place, as well as lifestyle, was very much part of the attraction. But above all, I just want to get back to a job I love.”


Howley had apparently been on the brink of succeeding Conor O’Shea at the helm in Italy when the story of his gambling problem emerged. 

That led to the aftermath where the possibility of working at Wasps, his old club, was his only serious alternative before he decided to link up with Kingsley Jones in a Canadian role that contracts him for 30 weeks of the year and will see him based in Toronto. 

“Warren (Gatland), as well as manager Alan Phillips, have been like family to me through all this but no, there has been absolutely no talk of the Lions,” continued Howley, who worked on the previous tour to New Zealand in 2017.  

“I want to devote all my energies to helping Rugby Canada to help players to make the best of themselves. I’d like to think that I have a winning mindset and that I can pass on my belief and confidence.


“It will still be a red jersey, but with a different badge. These have been unsettling times for a lot of people and I am truly grateful for all the support I have received. It is time to get back to work.”


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