Wales backs coach Rob Howley has been named as Wales’ interim coach following Warren Gatland’s appointment as the British and Irish Lions coach for their tour to New Zealand next year.
Gatland will immediately relinquish his Wales responsibilities until next season and will not take charge of Wales during their upcoming Autumn Internationals.
Howley will instead lead Wales during the four-match series, when they will take on Japan, Argentina, Australia and South Africa. He will be assisted by Robin McBryde, Shaun Edwards, and Neil Jenkins.
This will be Howley’s third spell in charge of his country, having taken over for the 2012/13 season. Howley’s last spell in charge of Wales in 2013 saw him lead them to Six Nations glory. An amazing 30-3 win over England in Cardiff secured their third Six Nations title in five years.
A delighted Howley, speaking about his appointment, had this to say (via the Welsh Rugby Union’s official website):
“I’m delighted, proud and extremely excited to be named Wales Head Coach for this period.I would like to congratulate Warren on his thoroughly deserved selection and the honour of being named Head Coach for a second successive Lions tour.
“I thoroughly enjoyed the experience of being Head Coach in 2012 and 2013 and I’m excited to have the challenge once again and I would like to thank the WRU for this opportunity.”
Martyn Phillips, WRU CEO, was equally happy with the appointment:
“We are delighted to appoint Rob as Head Coach of Wales for the period that Warren is away. Rob is a very experienced international coach and forms part of one of the most experienced coaching teams in the international game.
“Added to this, we have a very experienced squad of players, with a strong leadership group and we believe that combination gives us a strong basis on which to perform for the season ahead.”
Hefin Jones, Pundit Arena