Welsh Rugby
WRU confirms Howley as caretaker boss
ESPN Staff
September 4, 2012
Caretaker boss Rob Howley casts an eye over training, North Sydney Oval, Sydney, Australia, June 21, 2012
Rob Howley will coach Wales through the 2013 Six Nations © PA Photos

The Welsh Rugby Union has confirmed that Rob Howley will continue as caretaker boss of the national side following Warren Gatland's appointment as 2013 British & Irish Lions coach.

Gatland was unveiled by the Lions as their new coach on Tuesday and will lead Wales in two of their autumn internationals. He will take charge of their clashes with New Zealand on November 24 and Australia on December 1 before returning to Lions duty. The news means that Howley will preside over their games with Samoa and Argentina and the whole of the 2013 Six Nations.

Howley coached Wales on their three-Test tour to Australia back in June when he stepped in for Gatland who suffered two broken ankles after a fall back home in New Zealand. Wales fell to a 3-0 series loss but they pushed the Wallabies all the way. And Howley - who is in the frame to work alongside Gatland on the Lions tour - admits it is a massive honour to be handed the post once again.

"It is an honour and a privilege to have been asked to continue as head coach of Wales in my caretaker role for this extended period," Howley said. "I am also delighted for Warren who thoroughly deserves to have been selected to coach the British and Irish Lions on their 2013 tour.

"I thoroughly enjoyed my experience of heading up the coaching team over the summer and now I am looking forward to building on that during the months ahead. Work is already well advanced in preparation for the autumn and I know we have some great games to look forward to against some of the toughest opposition in the world game."

WRU CEO Roger Lewis hopes that Howley will continue to develop as a coach and he claims that their willingness to let Gatland coach the Lions shows the faith they have in their current set-up.

"Wales now operates to a tried and tested formula and in preparation and delivery on the field of play and the coaches and players know exactly what is expected of them," Lewis said. "We are also extremely proud to have an individual of Rob Howley's ability in place to pick up the baton and coach Wales in Warren's absence.

"This is a great opportunity for him and the rest of the backroom team to develop their individual and collective skills. After the Lions tour we will benefit from having a vastly more experienced coaching team in place as we look forward in earnest to the next Rugby World Cup in 2015.

"Rob has already proved his ability as a coach I am certain he will continue to develop his range of expertise and management capabilities in this extended period in charge. The Australia tour this summer proved to be an important learning curve for him and now he has the opportunity to gain even more experience as the number one coach."

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