Rob Howley
Birth nameRobert Howley
Date of birth (1970-10-13) 13 October 1970 (age 53)
Place of birthBridgend, Wales
Height1.76 m (5 ft 9 in)
Weight83 kg (13 st 1 lb; 183 lb)
SchoolBrynteg Comprehensive School
UniversityUniversity College of Swansea
Rugby union career
Position(s) Scrum-half
Senior career
Years Team Apps (Points)
1990–1993 Bridgend 40 (72)
1993 Cardiff 6 (0)
1994–1996 Bridgend 46 (42)
1996–2002 Cardiff 120 (210)
2002–2004 Wasps 59 (45)
International career
Years Team Apps (Points)
1996-2002 Wales 59 (50)
1997, 2001 British & Irish Lions 2 (0)
Coaching career
Years Team
2004 Barbarians (assistant)
2005–2008 Cardiff Blues (assistant)
2008–19 Wales (assistant)
2009, 2013, 2017 British & Irish Lions (assistant)
2012–13 Wales (caretaker)
2016–17 Wales (caretaker)

Robert Howley (born 13 October 1970) is a Welsh rugby union coach and former player. As a player, he won 59 caps for Wales, 22 of them as captain. He was part of the Wales coaching staff from 2008 to 2019. He is currently a coaching consultant for the Toronto Arrows in Major League Rugby (MLR).

Playing career


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

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


Howley represented Wales at Schools, Students, U21, A and 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 was named as the attack coach as part of Warren Gatland's Wales coaching staff.[5] Over the next 12 years, the national side won four Six Nations titles, including three Grand Slams, and reached the Rugby World Cup semi-finals in 2011 and the quarter-finals in 2015.

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 Howley continued his role through the 2013 tournament.[9]

As Wales coach, Howley faced much criticism. Wales beat the Barbarians 30–21 in his opening match as caretaker, but after that, Wales suffered eight consecutive defeats, six of which were under Howley. This included a 3–0 series defeat against Australia during their 2012 tour, a series whitewash in the 2012 Autumn internationals and a loss in the opening round of the 2013 Six Nations against Ireland. The last five defeats were all at home, setting a new Wales record for consecutive home defeats. The streak was broken in round 2 of the Six Nations with a 16–6 win over France. 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 won back-to-back championships since 1979.


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 also coached the side during the 2017 Six Nations Championship, and assisted the British & Irish Lions 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. ^ "Rob Howley".
  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. ^ "Wales coach Howley sent home from Japan". BBC Sport.
  12. ^ "Howley banned for betting breach". BBC Sport.
  13. ^ Slot, Owen. "Rob Howley deserves a second chance – I definitely rushed to judgment".