Six Nations 2013: Rob Howley has done a great job, says Wales coach
Six Nations 2013: Shaun Edwards says Rob Howley deserves praise after turning Wales into title contenders after a difficult start
Shaun Edwards has praised the work of Rob Howley after the head coach turned the fortunes of Wales around this Six Nations campaign.
Howley and Wales couldn’t have asked for much worse preparation heading into the 2013 Six Nations, coming into the tournament off the back of seven straight defeats.
The 42-year-old was in charge of five of these, a 3-0 Test series defeat by Australia, as well as losses to Argentina and Samoa, after Warren Gatland broke both heels in a fall in April and before the British and Irish Lion coach returned for the clashes with New Zealand and the Wallabies.
Interim boss Howley was back in charge for this year’s Six Nations opener, and seven losses became eight as Ireland ran out 30-22 winners.
But since then Wales have three straight wins and head into their final game with hopes of retaining their Six Nations crown, needing to beat England by eight clear points.
And defence coach Edwards believes much of the acclaim for this turn around must be laid at the door of Howley and his mental toughness.
“I think Rob Howley has done a strong job,” said Edwards. “In the autumn we were battered by injuries, we were absolutely annihilated by injury in the games and even before that series started.
“We now have our best team back and hey presto. You get your best players back playing and…
“It was heartbreaking to lose those games to Australia because it would have been the first time Wales had ever won overseas [in the southern hemisphere] in the professional era.
“But we have stuck at it and been resilient. You have to be like that in life and in sport. And Rob is a very resilient person.
“I thought he showed a lot of courage to pick Sam at the weekend. It showed he is a man of great courage and great foresight and I think he has done a brilliant job.
“He was aware if it didn’t go right what would happen, but it was a brilliant selection. It’s [showed] his resilience. You have to be resilient.”