Gareth Thomas: Former Wales captain says Rob Howley 'should be coach'

Rob Howley
Rob Howley led Wales to the 2013 Six Nations whilst deputising for Warren Gatland
Wales Under Armour Test series - Wales v Australia
Venue: Principality Stadium, Cardiff Date: Saturday, 5 November Kick-off: 14:30 GMT
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Rob Howley should become the next permanent Wales head coach, says former captain Gareth Thomas.

Howley, 46, is deputising for coach Warren Gatland, who is taking charge of the 2017 British and Irish Lions tour to New Zealand.

"What's the point of being understudy to Warren if we went and found someone new," Thomas told BBC Radio 5live.

"To have your national side coached by someone from your nation is something surely all countries are aiming for."

Thomas believes Howley can strengthen the side in time for the 2019 Rugby World Cup draw in May 2017 after gaining extensive experience as Gatland's assistant.

"Gatland's created something very successful so it's important that Rob has learned from a guy who is undoubtedly an extremely good coach," Thomas continued.

"Warren has to give him a certain amount of authority. Rob will grow from this experience and from this length of time he has.

"Probably towards the latter end of the November internationals we will definitely see a certain change within the team."

Howley has been in this situation before, guiding Wales to the 2013 Six Nations title when Gatland took charge of the Lions tour to Australia.

Gareth Thomas
Gareth Thomas became the first rugby union player to earn 100 caps for Wales

Chasing down the All Blacks

Wales can narrow the gap behind world number one in the rankings New Zealand, according to Howley, despite the All Blacks carrying a run of 18 consecutive wins.

New Zealand are the number-one ranked team in the world and are 14 ranking points ahead of fifth-placed Wales.

"We have changed and we've worked a lot of skills in training, particularly the front five skills," Howley told BBC Wales Sport.

"It's a point of difference particularly in New Zealand and it's a point we'll continue to work on," he said.

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