Powell dropped by Wales

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The Independent Online

Wales have dropped Andy Powell from their 35-man RBS 6 Nations squad with immediate effect.

Powell is due to appear in court next month charged with drink-driving after he was arrested with a golf buggy at motorway services.



Back row forward Powell, 28, was arrested early yesterday, hours after his team beat Scotland 31-24 at the Millennium Stadium.



Wales decided that Powell should be suspended from the squad for "behaviour contrary to the squad's code of conduct".



He was detained with another 28-year-old man at the service station near junction 33 of the M4 motorway, close to the spa hotel in the Vale of Glamorgan where his team were staying.



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



Alan Phillips, Wales' team manager, admitted his behaviour was unacceptable and gave no indication of when he would return to the squad.



"We take matters of player conduct extremely seriously and have been happy with the professionalism and discipline of this squad in general terms," said Phillips.



"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.



"This kind of behaviour cannot be tolerated in a professional, elite sporting environment and we have acted quickly and incisively in order to leave no ambiguity over the dim view we take of this situation.



"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.



"We will now leave the South Wales Police service to conclude the matter and we will be making no further public statements at this time."



Wales have declined to call up a replacement for Powell, who has won 14 caps for his country and toured with the British Lions squad to South Africa.



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



He is due to appear at Cardiff Magistrates' Court on March 2.



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