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Wales international’s enduring family pain from scandal that shook Welsh rugby

former full-back for Wales Shane Howarth has talked about the long-lasting hurt the controversy that terminated his career in Wales caused his family. Howarth’s tale is included in a new book that chronicles the lives of some of the most colorful figures in Welsh rugby.

Howarth was at the center of the ‘Grannygate’ affair in 2000, which rocked the Welsh game. He and his family had a traumatic experience, capping a three-year run that had seen him emerge as one of Wales’ most accomplished and well-liked players.

Howarth, who had played for the All Blacks in the past, said he was entitled to play for Wales since his mother’s side had a Welsh ancestor. However, the ‘Grannygate’ inquiry, which is now notorious, revealed that there was no official record to support it.

Thomas Williams, a man from Cardiff who was purported to be his grandpa, was not included on his birth certificate, and news sources suggested that the guy was really his maternal grandfather.

In an interview that features in the new book — Rugby Lives: The Untold Stories of 26 Welsh Internationals in Their Own Words — Howarth said the scandal put his family “under pressure”. You can buy the book here.

Howarth expressed his pain to former WalesOnline writer Simon Thomas, saying, “To have that [playing for Wales] taken away from me hurt, it hurt big time.”

However, the fact that it harmed my mother’s side of the family bothers me the most. It pulled items up that didn’t require a violent hauling up. Everything washed out in the wash. Out of everything, I found the most depressing thing to be that I had disappointed my mother and grandma. That still bothers me now.

“I walked up to visit Nana and apologized as much as I could. Indeed, it raised skeletons that weren’t necessary to raise.I took that really hard; it broke my heart.

In fact, Howarth’s grandmother was obliged to publicly deny having an affair. The 55-year-old, who is currently employed as a supermarket manager, said he has never properly investigated the matter and that it was better to move on.

“It ended with me when my Nana passed away in 2001,” he stated. “I wasn’t snooping around. I had no intention of exploring any farther.

“I was unable to establish his grandfatherhood. The birth certificate didn’t mention it. However, I had a sincere belief—which I still hold—that I was descended from Welsh people.


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