Wednesday 18 October 2017

Wales name interim head coach as Warren Gatland takes a leave of absence to lead the Lions

Wales interim coach Rob Howley
Wales interim coach Rob Howley
Will Slattery

Will Slattery

The WRU have named attack coach Rob Howley as the interim head coach as Warren Gatland leaves the role temporarily to oversee next summer's Lions tour.

Gatland will miss the upcoming autumn tests and the 2017 Six Nations so he can comprehensively assess prospective tourists, with his assistant Howley stepping in to deputise.

A similar arrangement was put in place when Gatland coached the Lions on the tour of Australia four years ago, with Howley losing six of his first seven fixtures before rebounding to win the 2013 Six Nations title.

The former Welsh scrum-half assisted on both the 2009 and 2013 Lions tours, so it will be interesting to see if Gatland includes him in his backroom team when it is announced on December 7.

It is crucial for Wales that Howley does well in the job, as the team's World Cup seeding is dependent on results over the autumn and next spring.

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