ROB HOWLEY HAS been named caretaker coach of Wales for their three-Test tour of Australia due to Warren Gatland’s injuries.
Gatland, who has been in charge of the Six Nations champions since December 2007, will instead focus on recovering from a fall while cleaning windows at his beach house in New Zealand last week.
The mishap left the 48-year-old with two fractured heels.
Assistant coach Howley will take control of Wales for their three Tests against Australia in June, as well as the matches against the Barbarians and the ACT Brumbies.
Wales Rugby Union chief executive Roger Lewis said Gatland supported the decision to have Howley take over.
“Our priorities are clear and we have acted decisively to ensure absolute clarity in the weeks ahead.”
“Warren has taken the appropriate medical advice and agrees that appointing Rob as caretaker coach in his absence is the best way forward for our Grand Slam-winning squad.
“Warren can now concentrate on getting back to robust health before taking back full control of Wales to continue the great work he has already achieved and Rob can take this opportunity to develop as a coach at the highest level.”
Doctors say Gatland is unable to return in time for the June 2 Barbarians international at Millennium Stadium, and so is unlikely to be able to lead Wales in Brisbane a week later.
Gatland may return in time for the final two Test matches, but Howley will remain in charge even if he does.