1. ITV Report

Ken Owens said Welsh players were left 'shell shocked' by Howley departure

Credit: PA Images

Wales hooker Ken Owens said his side were "shell shocked" by Rob Howley's betting affair, but said they will use it as a "galvanising force" going into their World Cup opener against Georgia.

Assistant coach Howley was sent home from Japan earlier this week for an alleged breach of World Rugby's betting regulations.

Owens, who is chairman of the Welsh Rugby Players' Association, revealed the Wales squad had a pre-arranged World Rugby integrity briefing - which are given to all World Cup nations - a day after the Howley matter was announced.

The way the Union (Welsh Rugby Union) have dealt with it has been brilliant. It's been to the point.

They got it done as quickly as possible, and it shifted the focus straight back to the rugby. As players, all we can control is our performance on Monday.

The best way to do that is to be sharp and accurate in training, making sure our own house is in order so we can put in a performance against Georgia.

It has been difficult. It's been a bit of a shell-shock to the boys. We haven't had time to reflect or dwell too much on it because we have got a job to do.

– Ken Owens, Wales hooker
Credit: PA Images

I have spoken to Rob. He was okay. I don't want to say any more - it's pretty private as far as I am concerned.

It is obviously very difficult. He is a very close friend of mine. It's not ideal, but it is what it is. It's happened, and we have to move forward.

– Neil Jenkins, Wales Skills Coach

Former Wales fly-half Stephen Jones, who is replacing Howley, has arrived at the squad's Toyota City base and will be part of training heading into Monday's encounter.

The good thing with Steve is that he was a world-class player, he is doing exceptionally well as a coach as well, and he's been in this environment before.

He pretty much knows how it works. He's a fantastic person, and I think he knows a lot of the systems we play, and he will get into it pretty quickly.

Pretty much everything has been put in place for Monday - it has been for some time - and we are ready to rock on that.

We are desperate for a match. It seems to have been a long summer, and we are really looking forward to Monday. It's Test time.

– Neil Jenkins, Wales Skills Coach

Lock Adam Beard, meanwhile, is due to link up with the squad imminently after remaining in Wales last week to have his appendix removed.

Neither Beard nor his fellow lock Cory Hill, who is recovering from a stress fracture in his leg, are expected to be involved against Georgia.