Powell vows to return from buggy incident

Wales player aiming to regain his national place following drink-drive charge
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The Independent Online

Andy Powell has vowed to fight to get back into the Wales team after he was dropped from the squad on Monday.

The 28-year-old was suspended by the Welsh management for breaching their code of conduct after he was arrested and charged for driving a golf buggy "whilst unfit through drink" following the win over Scotland at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday.

Powell's agent, Mike Burton, released a statement which read: "Andy Powell has accepted the disciplinary decision handed down by the Welsh Rugby Union and confirmed his public apology for the incident.

"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."

Powell was detained with another 28-year-old man early on Sunday morning 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. He subsequently failed a breathalyser test, police said. The men did not drive the buggy onto the motorway.

No player has been called up to provide back-row cover following Powell's arrest. Powell's place was under scrutiny before the incident with Sam Warburton making an impression from the bench against Scotland.

Powell has been playing out of position at blindside flanker to accommodate Ryan Jones in his preferred position at No 8 and has struggled to adapt.

Thom Evans, meanwhile, will undergo a second operation on his neck, it was confirmed yesterday.

Glasgow wing Evans, 24, suffered a serious injury after colliding with Wales full-back Lee Byrne during Scotland's 31-24 loss. He went under the knife that evening but surgeons have decided a second procedure will be required later this week before he is released from University Hospital, Cardiff.

Evans was carried off on a stretcher during the first half after receiving treatment for several minutes.

Scotland team doctor James Robson has already ruled the player out for the rest of the season but has played down fears his career might be under threat.

He said: "Thom has been heartened by the many messages of support he has received from around the world. The surgeons are delighted with his progress. Thom and his mum met with the surgeons last night and Thom has opted to undergo a further procedure later this week, which will enhance the surgery that has already taken place and provide further stabilisation to his neck.

"This procedure is optional and Thom could have decided to have it done at a later point, or not at all. He's decided to go ahead now and that should help with the whole recovery process.

"The same surgeons who performed the initial operation will undertake this procedure. Once he has settled from this procedure, the expectation would be that he will be allowed to return home."

Italy lock Marco Bortolami is set to win his 80th cap after coach Nick Mallett named him yesterday as part of a 30-man squad to play Scotland in the Six Nations.

Bortolami missed Italy's earlier matches this season through injury, but came off the bench in the 29-11 loss in Ireland and played all of Sunday's 17-12 defeat to England.

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