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The BBC's Wyre Davies
"No blood ties"
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WRU chief executive Dennis Gethin
"The mistakes...were made in good faith"
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Thursday, 4 May, 2000, 09:16 GMT 10:16 UK
Howarth loses Wales fight
Shane Howarth arrives at the IRB hearing in Dublin
Shane Howarth was called before the IRB panel
The International Rugby Board has confirmed that Shane Howarth will not be able to play again for Wales, unless the Welsh Rugby Union lodge an appeal.

It was thought Howarth might become eligible through the residency rules and his previous Welsh caps.

But the IRB's Chief Executive Stephen Baines said Howarth's earlier New Zealand caps would count against him.

The news is an undoubted blow for the Welsh.

Shane Howarth
Howarth claimed to have a Welsh grandfather
It follows the severe reprimand handed to the rugby unions in both Wales and Scotland, after a hearing in Dublin on Wednesday into the fielding of ineligible players.

Howarth, Brett Sinkinson and Tyrone Maulin of Wales and Scotland prop David Hilton were all believed to qualify for their respective countries through a grandparent.

They have all since been unable to provide documentary proof.

Unlike Howarth, who previously represented the All Blacks, Sinkinson, Maulin and Hilton are all able to resurrect their international careers - once the required period of residency has been served.

Neath flanker Sinkinson, 29, will qualify in September 2001 while 30-year-old Hilton will have to wait for another two years before he can return to the international fold.

When the revelations surfaced, Scottish and Welsh rugby chiefs ordered a detailed inquiry in to the matter.

None of the players in question have since represented their country.

'Errors were made'

Hilton was first selected by Scotland five years ago on the strength of an Edinburgh-born grandfather, who it now transpires actually came from Bristol.

David Hilton
David Hilton's grandfather was from Bristol

He has won 41 caps but the IRB stepped in and prevented a possible 42nd by sidelining Hilton from last month's Calcutta Cup victory over England.

"We are very pleased with the verdict - the decision is a very fair one," WRU secretary Dennis Gethin told BBC Radio Wales.

"We've conducted our own internal investigation into the matter and errors were made, but not on a deliberate basis. The whole episode has been a chastening experience."

The SRU are set to consider the decision of the IRB committee before taking the matter further.

"The Scottish Rugby Union will be considering the full transcript of the IRB judicial committee's decision," a statement said.

"Our initial reaction to the Press statement is to seek clarification on the effect on the players concerned by the judicial committee's judgement."


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See also:

31 Mar 00 | Wales
Charvis' Welsh roots in doubt
27 Mar 00 | Scotland
Hilton ruled ineligible by IRB
21 Mar 00 | Rugby Union
Sinkinson: I'm not eligible for Wales
23 Mar 00 | Rugby Union
Celts face player punishment
31 Mar 00 | Rugby Union
Rugby chiefs deny eligibility delay
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