Rob Howley was one of Warren Gatland’s first backroom appointments after he became Wales’ head coach, appointing Howley as Assistant Coach (Attack) on 14 January, 2008. He combined that job with his work as backs coach at Cardiff Blues until joining the national team on a full time basis in July, 2008.
In that time Howley has been part of a coaching team that has lead Wales to three Six Nations titles, including two Grand Slams and the semi-final of the 2011 Rugby World Cup. The summer of 2012 saw Howley take the reins as interim head coach following a double heel injury to Gatland. He lead Wales in the summer fixture against the Barbarians and for the three-Test series of Australia.
Gatland’s secondment to the British and Irish Lions meant Howley led Wales for two of the 2012 autumn international fixtures as well as the 2013 RBS 6 Nations. After defeat to Ireland, Howley’s side racked up away victories against France, Italy and Scotland to set-up a Championship decider against England at the Millennium Stadium. The defending champions ran out 30-3 in front of their home.
In the summer of 2013 Howley embarked on his second stint as backs coach for the British and Irish Lions (he was also coach on the 2009 tour to South Africa) and helped the famous tourists to a first series success in sixteen years.
With Gatland taking on the role of Lions coach again for the 2017 series against New Zealand, Howley took up the reins as Head Coach in 2016 and led Wales to victory against Argentina, Japan and South Africa in the autumn series. (Wales lost to Australia in the opening fixture).
As a player, the former scrum half won 59 caps for Wales, scoring 10 tries, and captained his country to 15 wins in 22 matches, including a run of 10 successive victories in 1999. Howley captained Wales in the Wales-hosted 1999 World Cup until he left the field injured against Australia in the dying minutes of the quarter-final. His final cap came against Scotland in April 2002.Howley’s numerous other honours include representation of Wales at Welsh Schools and U21 levels; Wales Students, Wales A and Wales B. He gained the distinction of Welsh Player of the Year in 1996 and 1997.
Howley was part of two British & Irish Lions tours, in 1997 to South Africa, where he suffered a shoulder injury and missed the Tests, and 2001 to Australia. He was one of the tour captains in Australia and played in the first two Tests before sustaining a broken rib which ruled him out of the series decider.He played for Bridgend, Cardiff and London Wasps, helping Wasps to win the Heineken Cup, European Challenge Cup and two English Premiership titles. However, a serious wrist injury forced him to cut his career short just months after his last minute try against Toulouse saw him lifting the Heineken Cup with Wasps in 2004 Final at Twickenham.
He was Assistant Coach with Bob Dwyer for the 2004 Barbarians against New Zealand in December 2004 and then really launched his coaching career as Cardiff Blues backs coach in June 2005.
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