Oval Talk

Howley benefiting from Wales situation

Oval Talk

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Howley working under Gatland

It appears that Rob Howley is enjoying the best possible entry into the role of full-time international coach, if not the longest.

The former scrum-half took charge of Wales for the summer tour of Australia in the absence of injured full-time head coach Warren Gatland, who broke both his heels in a fall.

And Howley has now revealed that he will again take the reins for the autumn internationals against Argentina and Samoa.

As Gatland — pencilled in to head up the Lions tour of Australia in 2013 — spends time preparing for that task by scouting opposition, Howley will benefit from his absence as he gets the opportunity to further develop his top-level coaching and organisational skills by leading Wales into the aforementioned autumn games prior to Gatland's return for the New Zealand and Australia Tests.

Significantly, Howley has also revealed that he will then most likely be at the helm for Wales' Six Nations campaign, an important and timely yardstick of his development at international level on a coaching criteria.

"England play the Wallabies on the weekend of our Samoan game and Warren will be able to watch that, which will be great for us in terms of our preparation for taking on Australia," Howley revealed. "Then the plan is I will be in charge again through the Six Nations.

"Hopefully next season will be a chance for me to get some wins under my belt as Wales coach. I'm very competitive and I want to win."

After a 3-0 series whitewash in Australia this summer Howley received a very stark reality check of just what is involved on the front line, but as a former international and Wales backs coach since 2008 he has more than enough experience to know how to deal with that.

Additionally, the closeness of those defeats in Australia, particularly the second and third Tests, gave plenty of encouragement to Howley as he led a group of players with whom he has been working closely for some time on a respectable tour Down Under.

"Ultimately international rugby is about results," he said at the same time as he revealed his potential head coaching duties for Wales. "Any head coach will tell you that. That's where you will be judged and I'm not hiding away from the 3-0 whitewash in Australia.

"The challenge now is to learn the lessons from that and put those lessons into practice come the autumn."

There will be few doubters that Howley will be fully able to rise to that challenge, as he continues on a pathway to what is surely a permanent full-time position in the future.

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