Coach Rob Howley commits to Wales until after the 2015 World Cup

Rob Howley and Warren Gatland
Robert Howley has been an assistant to Warren Gatland since January, 2008

Attack coach Rob Howley has signed a new contract with Wales until mid-2016, the Welsh Rugby Union has confirmed.

The announcement follows confirmation that defence coach Shaun Edwards will also remain until the 2015 World Cup.

However, former Wales captain Howley's contract would take him beyond Edwards' current tenure.

The WRU said: "It removes the potential for a scenario in which all currently contracted coaching staff could move from Wales at the same time."

Like Edwards, Howley will also help coach Wales' age-grade teams.

Howley joined Warren Gatland's staff in January 2008 along with Edwards.

Kicking coach Neil Jenkins and forwards coach Robin McBryde were WRU employees before Gatland's appointment in the wake of the 2007 World Cup flop under Gareth Jenkins.

Neil Jenkins and McBryde remain in place with the latter's contract expring at the end of the 2011-12 season.

Howley won 59 Wales caps, toured with the British and Irish Lions in 1997 and 2001 and after a playing career at Bridgend, Cardiff and Wasps, began his coaching career under Gatland at the latter club.

The former scrum-half then moved to Cardiff Blues before Gatland came calling on Wales' behalf.

He then joined another erstwhile Wasps coach, Ian McGeechan, as an assistant on the 2009 British and Irish Lions tour to South Africa.

Howley said: "I am personally ambitious to become the best coach I possibly can be and it is fantastic for me to be able to continue to advance my skills here in Wales with the Welsh team.

"As a coach I understand the importance of continuity and I know the strengths and weaknesses of our players and the youngsters who will be challenging for selection in the near future.

"I want to spend the next few years focused on Welsh success and I am determined to develop my own repertoire of skills so I can make a valid and worthwhile to rugby in Wales.

"I am a proud Welshman and anyone who works with me knows I want nothing more that success for Wales.

"The Rugby World Cup proved to us as a coaching team that we are heading in the right direction and that just inspires me for the future."

Gatland said: "There is a lot of hard work ahead, but the coaches around me have grown in stature over our time together and the continuity we now look forward to will help us achieve our aims.

"At this level we are often criticised if our performance doesn't meet outside expectations, but the biggest endorsement I can give of Rob is that, after the Lions experience in 2009, a high number of players commented to me that he was the best backs coach they had worked with, which speaks volumes."

WRU chief executive Roger Lewis said: "With Warren and his coaching team of Rob, Shaun Edwards, Neil Jenkins and Robin McBryde now in place we can look forward to some exciting and engaging rugby ahead from the national team."

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