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Wales attack coach Rob Howley interviewed for Munster role

The 48-year-old would offer vast experience as an assistant to Johann van Graan.

MUNSTER’S SEARCH FOR an experienced attack coach is continuing ahead of next season, with current Wales assistant coach Rob Howley among the possibilities.

The42 understands that the former Wales and Lions scrum-half has been interviewed about potentially taking up the role with Munster after this year’s World Cup.

Rob Howley The 48-year-old would offer vast experience. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Munster’s attack has struggled again this season and the province have begun the process of identifying an experienced coach to take control of that department of their game next season.

Felix Jones is currently in the role of ‘backline and attack coach’ with the province. The 31-year-old’s contract is understood to expire this summer, although The42 understands that Jones will continue to have a role with Munster into the 2019/20 season.

It looks certain that the province will appoint a senior attack coach, however, with that process including interviewing Howley.

Howley would bring vast experience to Munster, having started coaching as an assistant with the Cardiff Blues in 2005, before joining Warren Gatland’s Wales coaching staff as attack coach in 2008.

Howley has since served as an assistant coach on the Lions tours in 2009, 2013 and 2017 – working with Munster players Peter O’Mahony, Conor Murray, CJ Stander and Keith Earls. 

He has helped Wales to three Six Nations titles, two of which were Grand Slams. The Welsh also reached the semi-finals of the 2011 World Cup.

The Welshman, who won 59 caps as a player and toured with the Lions in 1997 and 2001, is understood to be seeking a new challenge after the World Cup in Japan, where Wales will be among the contenders after securing a Grand Slam this year.

Rob Howley with Liam Williams and Conor Murray Howley speaks with Conor Murray during the 2017 Lions tour. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

While Wales scored the joint-fewest tries in the 2019 Six Nations and relied more heavily upon their defence to claim the Grand Slam, Howley has developed the team’s attacking game in recent years, favouring a 1-3-3-1 shape and backing forwards to make passes.

The42 doesn’t believe that Munster have yet agreed on any deal with Howley but it’s understood he made a good impression in his interview. 

Howley would certainly be an interesting addition to head coach Johann van Graan’s staff ahead of next season, particularly given that he is almost 10 years the South African’s senior.

Munster defence coach JP Ferreira is contracted through until 2020, although the future of current forwards coach Jerry Flannery – also understood to be out of contract at the end of the season – remains unclear.

Losing Howley to Irish rugby would be a frustration for the Welsh Rugby Union, particularly after current Wales forwards coach Robin McBryde signed for Leinster on a deal that will begin after the World Cup.

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Murray Kinsella

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