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David Pickering
reads the WRU statement
 real 28k

BBC Wales's Jason Mohammad
"Ironically, Wales have named another New Zealander, Llanelli's Matt Cardey to replace Howarth at full back."
 real 28k

The BBC's Nick Mullins
"All of this overshadows the absence of Howley and Jenkins"
 real 28k

Monday, 13 March, 2000, 14:05 GMT
Howarth axed in foreigner purge

Howarth is a mainstay of the Welsh backline
Wales have dropped New Zealand-born fullback Shane Howarth while an investigation into the eligibility of foreign-born players continues.

Shane has agreed to stand down from the squad in order to provide documentary proof of his Welsh lineage

Wales team manager David Pickering
"We felt it was only right that until the investigation launched by the Welsh Rugby Union into the players' qualifications is completed that they should not be selected," said Wales team manager David Pickering on Monday.

Howarth is one of five overseas players who claimed Welsh-born ancestors in order to be capped by Wales.

He will not play in Saturday's Six Nations clash against Scotland.

The row blew up over the weekend when the Sunday Telegraph printed a copy of the birth certificate of Kiwi flanker Brett Sinkinson's grandfather, showing he was born in Oldham not Carmarthen as had been claimed.

Sinkinson was not expected to play for Wales this weekend anyway after picking up an injury in a game for his club Neath.

Howarth's place is taken by another Kiwi, Matt Cardey
"The players have been contacted and the situation explained to them,"added Pickering.

"Given the international match against Scotland is only five days away, the team management felt it was imperative that the normal pattern before a big game was retained and the team should be given as much chance as possible to prepare for the match.

"Brett would not have been considered for the game because of a shoulder injury, while Shane has agreed to stand down from the squad in order to provide documentary proof of his Welsh lineage."

Three other members of the Wales were born in the southern hemisphere and are under investigation: Australian Jason Jones-Hughes and New Zealander Matt Cardey and South African Peter Rogers.

While doubts remain over Howarth, Cardey appears to have proved his eligibility.

Sinkinson: Played in last season's epic victory over France in Paris
He is set to win his first full cap after being been named in the squad - ironically as a replacement for Howarth - as has Rogers.

"Matt has provided the WRU with documentary evidence which proves his grandmother was born in Nantyglo.

"Until the investigation has been concluded, no further statements will be made on this issue," said Pickering.

Howarth's exclusion is one of eight changes, one of them positional, from the side which lost 46-12 to England at Twickenham.

The changes also see Wales' World Cup captain Rob Howley left out.

High price

Cardiff scrum-half Howley, capped 43 times, is injured but had he not been he would probably have paid the price for an abject Welsh performance at Twickenham nine days ago.

His place goes to Llanelli's 32-year-old Rupert Moon, whose 19th cap comes five years after the last one - as a replacement against England in 1995.

Wales coach Graham Henry has also axed lock Chris Wyatt, while injuries sideline his Twickenham second-row partner Craig Quinnell and fly-half Neil Jenkins.

Llanelli flyhalf Stephen Jones takes over from Wales's record points scorer.

Henry calls up two new caps - Cardey and Ebbw Vale flanker Nathan Budgett.

Wales skipper David Young, who suffered a back injury during the England game, has recovered to take his place in an unchanged front-row.

Wales team to play Scotland in Lloyds TSB Six Nations Championship at Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, on Saturday.

Backs: M Cardey (Llanelli); G Thomas (Cardiff), A Bateman (Northampton), M Taylor (Swansea), S Williams (Neath); S Jones (Llanelli), R Moon (Llanelli);
Forwards: P Rogers (Newport), G Jenkins (Swansea), D Young (Cardiff, captain), I Gough (Pontypridd), A Moore (Swansea), N Budgett (Ebbw Vale), C Charvis (Swansea), G Lewis (Pontypridd).
Replacements: R McBryde (Llanelli), A Popham (Newport)/S Quinnell (Llanelli), M Williams (Cardiff), R Smith (Ebbw Vale), J Strange (Ebbw Vale), D James (Llanelli), S John (Cardiff).

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