Driving ban for Powell
Published 02/03/2010 | 12:40
Wales back row Andy Powell was banned from driving for 15 months today after pleading guilty to driving a golf buggy while unfit through drink.
Powell, 28, was arrested at a motorway service station at junction 33 of the M4 hours after Wales had beaten Scotland 31-24 in a dramatic RBS 6 Nations clash at the Millennium Stadium.
The Cardiff Blues number eight was taken into custody with another man in the early hours of February 14 near the Wales team hotel in the Vale of Glamorgan.
In a statement released through his agent, Powell expressed his remorse over the incident and admitted his actions had made him a poor role model.
"I fully accept the decision and sentence of the court today," he said.
"In doing so I am mindful of those whom I have let down by my actions and I again offer a full public apology, especially to my fans who have been so supportive, my family, who have stood by me, and the senior officers, management and coaching staff of both the WRU and Cardiff Blues.
"I would also like to thank the police officers involved in the incident and the management of the Vale Hotel, Golf and Spa Resort for the sympathetic way that they dealt with the situation.
"I realise that many young sportsmen and women look up to international rugby players and that some of them may be amused by my antics with a golf buggy.
"However, they should note my regret and be aware that I do not excuse or condone drink driving in any form."
Powell was dropped from Wales' Six Nations squad as a result of the incident, placing his international future under head coach Warren Gatland in grave doubt.
The Welsh management suspended the Lions forward for "behaviour contrary to the squad's code of conduct" and declined to set a date for his return.
The dilemma now facing Gatland is to decide what Powell's Wales prospects are beyond the Six Nations with a tour to New Zealand looming this summer.
Powell returns to training with the Blues tomorrow hoping to nudge his Test career back on track as soon as possible.
"I now intend to put this matter behind me and to get on with my rugby career and the remainder of the Cardiff Blues season," he said.
"I still have aspirations to play for my country, which means so much to me."
Powell pleaded guilty when he made his first appearance at Cardiff Magistrates' Court this morning.
His lawyer Conrad Gadd told the court he had already admitted he had been "foolish", adding: "He is regretful that any young boy who may see him as a hero might think this behaviour is acceptable and he wants to make it plain that it isn't."
As well as the 15-month ban, Powell was fined £1,000 and ordered to pay £85 costs and a £15 victims surcharge.