Former Wales star Rob Howley returns to rugby with Canadian national team

Former Wales star Rob Howley returns to rugby with Canadian national team

Rob Howley, a former star scrum half for Wales and the British and Irish Lions whose coaching career was derailed by a betting scandal, has returned to rugby as senior assistant coach for the Canadian national men’s team.

The former Wales back coach was banned from the sport for 18 months — with nine months suspended — last December for betting on matches, including Wales games.

Howley has signed a three-year contract with Rugby Canada which takes him through the 2023 World Cup. As part of the deal, the 49-year-old will work with the Toronto Arrows as a consultant for the 2021 Major League Rugby season.

“He’s a great coach,” Canada coach Kingsley Jones, a former Wales captain, said in an interview.

“I just saw an opportunity there to bring a world-class coach to Canada, to help our coaches, to help our program,” he added.

Howley’s suspension was backdated to his withdrawal from Wales’ World Cup campaign, on Sept. 16, 2019. Howley was sent home from Japan six days before Wales’ opening match.

The disciplinary panel overseeing his case said the betting was in part triggered by the death of his sister.

“If it was a situation where I didn’t know the coach, I don’t think we would be going down this road,” said Jones. “But I’ve known Rob for 30 years almost, played sevens with him, played for Wales with him.

“We’ve been on some long tours — South Africa, Australia et cetera. Five-, six-week rugby tours where one of us has been the captain or the vice-captain. We’ve had a tight relationship through that. So I know Rob very very well.”

Jones said Howley had made a mistake and paid for it. The suspension reportedly cost Howley the head coaching job with Italy.

“He’s come out of that, particularly the last six seven months, with a lot of credit from a lot of people the way he’s managed himself,” said Jones.

Howley is not expected to be able to make it to Canada for a men’s November camp. Jones said he will likely start in March with the Arrows.

Born in Bridgend, Howley won 59 caps for Wales and was selected for British and Irish Lions tours in 1997 and 2001. On the club level, he played for Cardiff before joining England’s Wasps, where he won two Premiership titles and the 2004 Heineken Cup.

On the coaching front, Howley began as an assistant coach with Cardiff before joining the staff of the Welsh national team. He was a member of the Wales coaching staff for the 2011 and 2015 World Cups and served as interim head coach, stepping in for Warren Gatland, in 2012-13 and 2016-17.

Howley won the Six Nations Championship in 2013 as head coach.

He also served as attack coach for the British and Irish Lions for the 2009 tour of South Africa, the 2013 tour to Australia, and the 2017 tour to New Zealand.

“I am absolutely delighted to be joining Rugby Canada and begin working alongside Kingsley Jones and the other Canadian coaches,” said Howley. “I’m excited to get to work and help prepare Canada for Rugby World Cup qualification. I am also looking forward to my first season in MLR with the Toronto Arrows.

“There is a tremendous opportunity to leverage the synergy of a professional club loaded with domestic players in an emerging league to help support the national team — it is very similar to my past experience coaching in Wales.”

Dustin Hopkins, Rugby Canada’s director of rugby operations, thanked Arrows founder Bill Webb and the “philanthropic donations from dedicated Canadian rugby supporters” in helping the national governing body bring Howley on board.

“We are fortunate and excited to have Rob on board to work with our club’s young Canadian coaching staff,” said Mark Winokur, the Arrows COO and GM. “Not only does Rob bring his vast experience, but his manner and attitude meshes perfectly with the values and culture of the Arrows, and our guys are really fired up about welcoming him into the Arrows environment.”

The Arrows kick of their third season in MLR next March.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 23, 2020.

—-

Follow @NeilMDavidson on Twitter

Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press

rugby

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Cilantro and Chive was voted in the top three in no less than 13 different categories in the 2020 Best of Lacombe Readers Choice Awards. Photo by Megan Roth/Lacombe Express
Cilantro and Chive opening in Red Deer

There will now be two Cilantro and Chive locations. The restaurant announced… Continue reading

People wear face masks as they wait to enter a store in Montreal on October 24, 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Canadian provinces hardest hit by COVID-19 reach sobering milestones

MONTREAL — The Canadian provinces hardest hit by the global COVID-19 pandemic… Continue reading

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau looks on as Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Federal study details workers hit hardest by tax, benefit system for extra earnings

OTTAWA — Newly released documents show Finance Department officials calculated that workers… Continue reading

Cenovus. (The Canadian Press)
Cenovus to buy Husky Energy in deal valued at $23.6B, company will remain in Alberta

CALGARY — Cenovus Energy Inc. is buying Husky Energy Inc. in an… Continue reading

test tube with the blood test is on the table next to the documents. Positive test for coronavirus covid-19. The concept of fighting a dangerous Chinese disease.
The latest numbers on COVID-19 in Canada for Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020

The latest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada as of 10:49… Continue reading

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson, B.C. NDP leader John Horgan and B.C. Greens leader Sonia Furstenau. (Black Press Media)
VIDEO: One day until B.C. voters go to the polls in snap election defined by pandemic

NDP Leader John Horgan’s decision to call an election comes more than a year ahead of schedule and during a pandemic

Alice Kolisnyk, deputy director of the Red Deer Food Bank, says the agency expects an increase in demand as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. Every new subscription to the Red Deer Advocate includes a $50 donation to the food bank. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)
Support the food bank with a subscription to the Red Deer Advocate

The community’s most vulnerable members are always in need of a hand,… Continue reading

NDP Leader John Horgan celebrates his election win in the British Columbia provincial election in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
John Horgan says he will work across party lines to find ideas that work for B.C.

VICTORIA — British Columbia’s election results show a divided province with Liberal… Continue reading

President Donald Trump gestures from the top of the steps of Air Force 1 at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020. When people in the United States talk about moving to Canada to escape four more years of Donald Trump, it’s usually either a punchline or a pipe dream. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Susan Walsh
Move to Canada? A pipe dream for some Americans is a parachute for Canadian expats

WASHINGTON, Wash. — When people in the United States talk about moving… Continue reading

The Cogeco logo is seen in Montreal on Thursday, October 22, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Five things to watch for in the Canadian business world in the coming week

TORONTO — Five things to watch for in the Canadian business world… Continue reading

President Donald Trump, left, and Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden during the second and final presidential debate Thursday, Oct. 22, 2020, at Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn. Stock market investors are breathing a little easier despite potentially facing higher taxes as the possibility of a contested U.S. presidential election appears to be fading, say investment experts. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Patrick Semansky
Markets concerns about contested U.S. election fading with Biden lead in polls

TORONTO — Stock market investors are breathing a little easier despite potentially… Continue reading

(File photo)
Ontario records more than 1,000 new daily COVID-19 cases for first time

Ontario is reporting more than 1,000 mew daily cases of COVID-19 for… Continue reading

Pope Francis delivers his message during the Angelus noon prayer from the window of his studio overlooking St.Peter's Square, at the Vatican, Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
Pope names 13 new cardinals, includes US Archbishop Gregory

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis on Sunday named 13 new cardinals, including… Continue reading

Dave Mercer, President of Unifor Local 2121, overlooks Conception Bay, Newfoundland and Labrador and the Terra Nova floating production vessel that is anchored there on Friday, October 23, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Daly
As N.L.’s oil industry sputters, the emotional toll of the cod moratorium looms large

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — Dave Mercer spent the early 1990s roaming around… Continue reading

Most Read