Saturday 16 December 2017

Powell cut from Wales squad

Graham Clutton

Wales coach Warren Gatland has dropped Andy Powell from his Six Nations squad. Powell will appear at Cardiff Magistrates Court on March 2 charged with drink-driving after he was arrested in a golf buggy in the early hours of Sunday morning.

The 28-year-old Cardiff Blues flanker and another man were picked up at a service station near a Welsh motorway, less than three miles from the team headquarters at the Vale Hotel, Golf and Spa Resort. It is understood the buggy belonged to the resort in the Vale of Glamorgan. The other man was released without charge.

After Monday discussions with the player, who has won 14 caps for Wales, Welsh management decided to drop the forward for behaviour contrary to the squad's code of conduct.

"We take matters of player conduct extremely seriously and have been happy with the professionalism and discipline of this squad in general terms," Alan Phillips, the Wales team manager, said.

"Andy knows he has misbehaved and is apologetic, but he also knows that he must take responsibility for his own actions and accept the repercussions.

"This kind of behaviour cannot be tolerated in a professional, elite sporting environment and we have acted quickly and incisively in order to leave no ambiguity over the dim view we take of this situation."

Robert Norster, the Cardiff Blues chief executive, said: "What appears to be a bizarre, but serious lack of judgment by one of our players while on national duty is of real concern.

"It seems, albeit from a distance, to have been a prank that has somehow gone dreadfully wrong. Consequently, we fully accept and respect the WRU's understandable and prompt action to address the issue."

A replacement for Powell will not be brought into the Wales squad, although the inclusion of Scarlets hooker Ken Owens as cover for his injured regional colleague Matthew Rees, who has a groin problem, and Cardiff hooker Gareth Williams, who has knee trouble, means the squad retains 35 members.

Thom Evans, the Scotland wing who underwent surgery in Cardiff on Saturday night after suffering a slipped vertebra during the 31-24 defeat by Wales, was last night said to be "improving".

Chris Paterson, his team-mate who was admitted to hospital after the game with a bruised kidney, is also on the mend and expected to return home to Scotland later in the week. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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