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The BBC's Wyre Davies
"No blood ties"
 real 28k

WRU chief executive Dennis Gethin
"The mistakes...were made in good faith"
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Thursday, 4 May, 2000, 08:43 GMT 09:43 UK
Howarth's international career over
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 WRU lodges an appeal.

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

Shane Howarth
Howarth claimed to have a Welsh grandfather

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

The new follows the WRU's severe reprimand after an International Rugby Board hearing into the fielding of ineligible players for the Six Nations championship.

Both Howarth and Brett Sinkinson believed they qualified through a Welsh grandparent, but have been unable to provide documentary proof.

Tyrone Maullin
Wales A lockTyrone Maullin: Also queried

The WRU escaped a fine but was ordered to pay costs of around 10,000 following a two-day hearing into the scandal.

As well as the controversy surround Howarth, the international careers of Brett Sinkinson and David Hilton have been put on hold.

New Zealand-born Welsh international Sinkinson, together with Scotland's Bristolian prop Hilton, must now serve a three-year residential qualification in order to resume playing Test match rugby.

Brett Sinkinson
Brett Sinkinson will qualify in 2001

Neath flanker Sinkinson, 29, will qualify in September 2001 while 30-year-old Hilton is understood to have around another two years kicking his heels.

When the revelations surfaced, Welsh rugby chiefs ordered a detailed internal inquiry and neither Howarth nor Sinkinson have been picked since the Six Nations Championship defeat against England on 4 March.

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."

Swansea's South African-born Wales A lock Tyrone Maullin has also been affected by the decision.

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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