Rob Howley

Rob Howley
Robert Howley Wales Grand Slam Celebration, Senedd 19 March 2012.jpg
Birth name Robert Howley
Date of birth (1970-10-13) 13 October 1970 (age 51)
Place of birth Bridgend, Wales
Height 1.76 m (5 ft 9 in)
Weight 83 kg (13 st 1 lb; 183 lb)
School Brynteg Comprehensive School
University University College of Swansea
Rugby union career
Position(s) Scrum-half
Senior career
Years Team Apps (Points)
National team(s)
Years Team Apps (Points)
1997, 2001
British & Irish Lions
Teams coached
Years Team
2009, 2013, 2017
Barbarians (assistant)
Cardiff Blues (assistant)
Wales (assistant)
British & Irish Lions (assistant)
Wales (caretaker)
Wales (caretaker)

Robert Howley (born 13 October 1970 in Bridgend) is a Welsh rugby union former player and coach. As a player he gained 59 caps for Wales, 22 of them as captain. He was part of the Wales coaching team for many years.

Playing career


Howley played for Bridgend, Cardiff and Wasps. He gained the distinction of Welsh Player of the Year in 1996 and 1997.

He helped Wasps win two Premiership titles in 2003 and 2004.[1][2] He also helped Wasps win the Heineken Cup in 2004, in the final of which his late try won them the game against Toulouse.[3] A wrist injury saw Howley announce his retirement from the game in 2004.


Howley represented Wales at Welsh Schools, Wales U21 levels, Wales Students, Wales A and Wales B levels.[4]

He made his senior Wales debut in February 1996. He was selected for the 1997 British Lions tour to South Africa, prompting speculation of a match-up with the Springboks' Joost van der Westhuizen, but Howley suffered a tour-ending shoulder injury in a match against Natal prior to the start of the test series. Howley made the 2001 British & Irish Lions tour to Australia and played in the first two tests before succumbing to injury.

He retired from international rugby when he joined Wasps.

Coaching career

Following his retirement from playing, Howley coached Cardiff RFC.

In 2008 he became the attack coach for the Wales national team.[5] He has been Warren Gatland's assistant since Gatland's appointment in later 2007, helping the national side secure a number of trophies and Six Nations titles. In addition to this, he was part of the Welsh management team for the 2011 Rugby World Cup and 2015 Rugby World Cup.

He was attack coach during 2009 British & Irish Lions tour to South Africa under head coach Ian McGeechan, and retained the role under Warren Gatland in the 2013 British & Irish Lions tour to Australia, helping the Lions secure their first series win since 1997.

Wales caretaker coach

In April 2012, Howley temporarily covered the day-to-day running of the coaching team, after Warren Gatland suffered two broken heels while on holiday in New Zealand.[6] Warren Gatland was unable to lead Wales on their 2012 tour to Australia because of his injury, and Rob Howley took charge as caretaker coach during the tour.[7] Rob Howley continued his caretaker role in the 2012 Autumn Internationals as Gatland was selected as head coach of the 2013 British & Irish Lions tour to Australia.[8] However, Howley would only coach Wales in the opening 2 matches; Argentina and Samoa, and that Gatland would return to coach the side against New Zealand and Australia in week 3 and 4. Due to Gatland's role as head coach of the Lions, he was unable to coach Wales in the 2013 Six Nations, therefore Howely continued his role through the 2013 tournament.[9]

While coaching the Welsh side from June 2012 to March 2013, Rob Howley faced much criticism. His opening match as caretaker coach against the Barbarians was won by Wales 30–21. After that win Wales suffered 8 consecutive defeats, 6 of which were under the management of Howley. This included a 3–0 series defeat against Australia during their 2012 tour to Australia, a series white-wash in the 2012 Autumn Internationals and a loss in the opening round of the 2013 Six Nations against Ireland. The last 5 defeats was a record run of 5 home defeats. The streak was broken in round 2 of the Six Nations after beating France 6–16. Rob Howley led Wales to a Championship win in the 2013 Six Nations after beating England by a record winning margin, 30–3 at the Millennium Stadium. This was Wales fourth Championship win since it became the Six Nations in 2000, and the first time Wales has won back to back championship wins since their 1978/1979 championship wins.

On 7 September 2016, Howley was once again given the head coaching duties for the Welsh national side after Gatland retained his head coaching role of the British & Irish Lions for their 2017 tour to New Zealand. Howley took charge of Wales effective immediately,[10] coaching Wales in all 2016 Autumn internationals, which saw Wales win 3 from 4. He will also coach the side during the 2017 Six Nations Championship, and pending appointment to the British & Irish Lions at the same time, he will also coach Wales during their 2017 Summer tour.

2019 suspension

On 17 September 2019 Rob Howley was sent home from Wales' Rugby World Cup training camp in Japan for a breach of sports betting rules.[11] He was later banned for 18 months with nine suspended after being found guilty of placing 363 bets on rugby union, covering 1,163 matches in total.[12] Howley linked his betting to his sister's depression, alcoholism and early death.[13]


Date Venue Home Score Away Notes
2 June Millennium Stadium, Cardiff Wales  30–21 Barbarians
9 June Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane Australia  27–19  Wales 2012 Welsh tour to Australia
16 June Etihad Stadium, Melbourne 25–23
23 June Sydney Football Stadium, Sydney 20–19
10 November Millennium Stadium, Cardiff Wales  12–26  Argentina 2012 Autumn internationals
16 November Millennium Stadium, Cardiff Wales  19–26  Samoa
2 February Millennium Stadium, Cardiff Wales  22–30  Ireland 2013 Six Nations
9 February Stade de France, Saint-Denis France  6–16  Wales
23 February Stadio Olimpico, Rome Italy  9–26  Wales
9 March Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh Scotland  18–28  Wales
16 March Millennium Stadium, Cardiff Wales  30–3  England
5 November Principality Stadium, Cardiff Wales  8–32  Australia 2016 Autumn internationals
12 November Principality Stadium, Cardiff 24–20  Argentina
19 November Principality Stadium, Cardiff 33–30  Japan
26 November Principality Stadium, Cardiff 27–13  South Africa
5 February Stadio Olimpico, Rome Italy  7–33  Wales 2017 Six Nations
11 February Principality Stadium, Cardiff Wales  16-21  England
25 February Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh Scotland  29-13  Wales
10 March Principality Stadium, Cardiff Wales  22-9  Ireland
18 March Stade de France, Saint-Denis France  20–18  Wales


  1. ^ "Wasps romp to title". BBC. 31 May 2003. Retrieved 6 February 2020.
  2. ^ "Wasps 10-6 Bath". BBC. 29 May 2004. Retrieved 6 February 2020.
  3. ^ "Wasps 27-20 Toulouse". BBC. 23 May 2004. Retrieved 7 February 2020.
  4. ^[bare URL]
  5. ^ "Howley Eager for Wales Challenge". BBC Sport. 15 January 2008. Retrieved 13 March 2008.
  6. ^ "BBC Sport - Wales coach Warren Gatland suffers double heel injury". BBC. 11 April 2012. Retrieved 9 March 2013.
  7. ^ "Warren Gatland devastated to be ruled out of Wales' Australia tour". WalesOnline. 27 April 2012. Retrieved 9 March 2013.
  8. ^ Ian Robertson (4 September 2012). "Warren Gatland named coach for Australia series". BBC. Retrieved 9 March 2013.
  9. ^ "BBC Sport - Lions 2012: Rob Howley appointed Wales caretaker coach". BBC. 4 September 2012. Retrieved 9 March 2013.
  11. ^[bare URL]
  12. ^[bare URL]
  13. ^[bare URL]

External links