Rugby Union: Howley ruled out for four months

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The Independent Online
Rob Howley had his worst fears confirmed yesterday when the Lions scrum-half was told by doctors that he would have to have a pin inserted in his damaged left shoulder. It means the 26-year-old Cardiff stalwart will be out of action for four months and will miss the majority of their Heineken Cup campaign.

Howley, capped 16 times by Wales, was injured during the Lions' victory over Natal last weekend and flew home on Monday. A scan on his shoulder revealed torn ligaments in a joint. The pin will be inserted at a Cardiff hospital today and will be removed before he resumes playing in late October. As well as being ruled out for Cardiff's pool matches in the European tournament, he will also miss Wales' international against Romania on 30 August30 and will be struggling to prove his fitness in time to meet the All Blacks at Wembley on 15 November.

The Rugby Football Union yesterday poured scorn over Cliff Brittle's threat to sack his enemies if he is elected as the chairman of the new management board at next month's annual meeting. Brittle, currently the executive committee chairman, said he would have no hesitation wielding the axe should England's grass-roots clubs elect him - a defiant claim that appeared to threaten the RFU secretary Tony Hallett, the treasurer Colin Herridge and the incoming president Peter Brook.

Yesterday, though, a spokesman for the RFU said: "Mr Brittle's statement failed to disclose that, under RFU rules, the RFU Executive are elected - as he is. He has no more the right to sack them than they have to sack him. As far as his remarks about staff are concerned, they are leading to insecurity and staff dissatisfaction at all levels in Twickenham, which is adversely affecting levels of service."

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