Wales rugby: English clubs' ruling a boost for Rob Howley, says Gareth Llewellyn

Taulupe Faletau and Ross Morirty
Taulupe Faletau (left) is out of Wales' game against Australia with Ross Moriarty likely to start

Ex-Wales captain Gareth Llewellyn has welcomed Premiership Rugby's decision to release players for international matches on 5 November.

The move handed Wales coach Rob Howley five England-based players to play Australia whose eligibility was previously in doubt.

George North, Jamie Roberts, Luke Charteris, Ross Moriarty and Tomas Francis are all now available for the match which falls outside the autumn international window.

"It's a massive boost," said Llewellyn.

"I think any coach always wants all his players available and I think Rob himself, if he is going to be judged on the Welsh team's performance, would want to be judged with a full complement of players at his disposal."

Howley, who is taking charge of Wales this season while Warren Gatland is with the British and Irish Lions, also has Bath number eight Taulupe Faletau in his squad, but he will not be fit for the match against the Wallabies.

The English Premiership do not usually release non-English players for matches outside the official World Rugby international window - which this autumn runs from 11 November until 25 November.

But Premiership Rugby announced a "one-off variance" of the policy for the weekend of 4-6 November.

With Faletau ruled out by injury, four of the five players now available will probably start against the Wallabies, with tight-head prop Francis likely to be back-up to Scarlets' Samson Lee.

Llewellyn believes the addition of North and Roberts is a major boost for Howley.

"Jamie Roberts is the defensive captain," he added.

"He's been a cornerstone of the team for a long time - George North is a world-class winger.

"You don't need to say any more really. Guys like that bring confidence to the squad and the rest of the team as well.

"You do have to deal with injuries, that's part of the deal really, but having to lose players for political reasons is very frustrating and with Faletau's injury it's critical Ross Moriarty is available as well."

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