Wales Rugby
Roberts backs Howley appointment
ESPNscrum Staff
April 22, 2012
Jamie Roberts dives into score for Wales, Wales v Italy, Six Nations, Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Wales, March 10, 2012
Jamie Roberts believes the WRU has put the right man in charge of Wales' forthcoming tour of Australia © Getty Images

Wales centre Jamie Roberts has backed the decision to make Rob Howley the team's caretaker coach for the forthcoming tour of Australia.

Howley was handed the side's reins on a temporary basis with coach Warren Gatland currently sidelined having suffered two fractured heels in a fall during a recent trip home to New Zealand. The Kiwi is not expected to recover in time to lead the Six Nations champions Down Under and Roberts believes the Welsh Rugby Union have put the right man in charge for the warm-up clash with the Barbarians and a three-Test series with the Wallabies.

"Rob commands respect off all the players," Roberts told BBC Sport. "It's an opportunity for Rob and the guys with Wales to really make their mark and show they can take charge of a team."

Roberts, who will miss the tour as he continues his recovery from knee ligament surgery, is confident Howley has the experience to do the job. "He's played at the highest level, he's very meticulous in his planning and he gets on very well with the guys," said Roberts.

"He's a very good coach, a very clever coach and has done wonders with the Welsh backs over the last couple of years. Certainly I've found my game has improved massively under Rob and I'm sure all the backs would agree."

This summer's tour could be a timely trial for Howley with Gatland also widely expected to take charge of the British & Irish Lions next year. The demands of that position could see him vacate the Wales hotseat once again for up to a year.

"I suppose if he (Gatland) did get the Lions job he wouldn't coach Wales too much next season," added Roberts. "For him (Howley) to be head coach, I'm sure he'll be very proud of that and as I say, it's a great opportunity for him."

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