Page last updated at 14:25 GMT, Monday, 15 February 2010

Rugby star Andy Powell dropped from Wales squad

Andy Powell in the Wales v Scotland match
Andy Powell played during Wales' victory over Scotland on Saturday

Welsh rugby star Andy Powell has been removed from Wales' Six Nations squad after he was charged with driving a golf buggy while drunk.

Mr Powell was arrested at motorway services at junction 33 on the M4 hours after Wales beat Scotland.

He and another man were taken into custody at 0540 GMT on Sunday, near the team's hotel in the Vale of Glamorgan.

The Welsh Rugby Union said he was suspended 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," said Wales team manager Alan Phillips," it said in a statement.

"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.

Location map
The arrests were made near the M4

"The player has made his private apologies to the Welsh management team as well as apologising in a public statement and we have also asked him to apologise to the Vale Resort Hotel, before asking him to leave the squad."

In a statement, Mr Powell's agent Mike Burton said: "Andy Powell has accepted the disciplinary decision handed down by the WRU today.

"Andy remains a committed professional and will now work towards re-establishing himself in the Welsh squad at a time when the WRU team management think fit."

Mr Powell's arrest followed after a buggy was taken from the Vale Hotel and Spa, where team members stayed before and after the match.

South Wales Police said Mr Powell, 28, was charged with "driving a mechanically propelled vehicle whilst unfit through drink".

He will appear at Cardiff Magistrates' Court on 2 March.

The other man, who was released without charge, was said to be a friend of Mr Powell's and not another team member.

Mr Powell's agent, Mike Burton, confirmed the player had failed a breath test and told BBC Radio 5 Live: "Andy was disappointed and embarrassed to find himself in this position."

Mr Powell had played in the 31-24 victory in the Six Nations championship on Saturday before returning to the Vale Hotel along with teammates to spend the night.

Brecon-born rugby flanker Powell has won 14 caps for Wales and toured with the British and Irish Lions squad to South Africa.

The forward plays regional rugby for Cardiff Blues, after joining from the Llanelli Scarlets in 2005. He has also played for Beziers, Leicester and Newport.

Cardiff Blues said it was a matter for the Wales team.



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