Rob Howley has been appointed to Warren Gatland’s coaching staff for the Six Nations in his first involvement with Wales since being banned for breaching betting regulations.
Howley served as Wales’ attack coach from 2008 to 2019 in a golden era for the national side that featured four Championship titles, three of them Grand Slams.
The former Lions scrum-half was forced to step back from the game in the build up to the 2019 World Cup when his betting activity came to light, resulting in an 18-month ban from rugby, half of which was suspended.
Rob Howley returns!
Rob Howley comes home as Technical Coach for the senior men's team with responsibility for the men and boys pathway, alongside new U20s Head Coach Richard Whiffin, who has previously worked as attack coach for the Welsh women's team.
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— Welsh Rugby Union (@WelshRugbyUnion) December 14, 2023
Now he has returned to the fold as a ‘technical’ coach in a role that also sees him involved with the Wales Under-20 side ahead of their Six Nations.
“It feels to me like the time is right and I’m really looking forward to returning to the fold with Wales,” Howley said.
“I have a second opportunity to do a job I’ve dedicated my working life to and I’m grateful to everyone in Welsh rugby for their acceptance and their faith in me, it’s faith I intend to repay to the best of my ability.
“I have been through an extremely challenging time in my life. Speaking out and talking about it has enabled me to move forward.”
Jonathan Thomas’ departure as contact area coach created space in Gatland’s management team, allowing Howley to link up with fellow assistants Mike Forshaw, Jonathan Humphreys, Neil Jenkins and Alex King.
“Rob is one of the most successful and experienced Welsh coaches on the international arena at the moment,” Gatland said.
“When we lost Rob from Welsh rugby we lost a hugely significant amount of intellectual property, knowledge of the game in Wales and of the international scene.
“We are delighted that he will be joining the 2024 coaching team and it’s a major coup for Welsh rugby to have secured his services once again.”