Wales hooker Ken Owens says his side will use the Rob Howley affair as "a galvanising force" as their World Cup campaign prepares for kick-off.

Wales assistant coach Howley was sent home from Japan earlier this week for an alleged breach of World Rugby's betting regulations.

"We are never short of a little bit of adversity in Welsh rugby or a story breaking in a match week," Owens said, ahead of Monday's opener against Georgia.

"The boys have just responded perfectly. We've just had to get on with it and use it as a galvanising force."

Howley, 48, has returned to Wales to assist with an investigation relating to a potential breach of World Rugby regulation six, specifically betting on rugby union.

Owens, who is chairman of the Welsh Rugby Players' Association, revealed the Wales squad had a pre-arranged World Rugby integrity briefing - it is given to all World Cup competing nations - the day after Howley's departure was announced.

"All the boys, especially back home, get integrity briefings and reminders of it every season in terms of anti-doping, betting and all the rest of it," Owens added.

"We had an integrity briefing the day after the announcement with Rob. We all know where we stand, and all the players are aware." 

Wales assistant coach Neil Jenkins, a former international team-mate and now a coaching colleague of Howley's, said: "I have spoken to Rob. He was okay. I don't want to say any more - it's pretty private as far as I am concerned.

"It is obviously very difficult. He is a very close friend of mine. It's not ideal, but it is what it is. It's happened, and we have to move forward."

Former Wales fly-half Stephen Jones, who is replacing Howley, has arrived at the squad's Toyota City base and will be part of training heading into Monday's encounter.

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