Rob Howley to step-in for Warren Gatland as Wales head coach
By Nathan Orr
Last Updated: 07/09/16 2:53pm
Rob Howley has been appointed Wales head coach while Warren Gatland undertakes his role with the British and Irish Lions for the next 10 months.
Howley, who has been Wales assistant coach under Gatland, will take "full responsibility" for the senior team with immediate effect, according to the Welsh Rugby Union.
During the 2012-13 season, Howley also took charge of Wales while Gatland was heading up the Lions tour of Australia.
In that period, Wales lost all their autumn games, but then went on to win the Six Nations title.
"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," said Welsh Rugby Union chief executive Martyn Phillips.
"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."
Wales' results under Howley could be pivotal, as it will decide their seeding for the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan.
In Gatland's last sabbatical with the Lions, Wales' poor showing in the autumn fixtures caused them to slip down the rankings and out of the top eight.
However, this time round, the seeds for the tournament will be decided after the Six Nations rather than in November.