Rugby Canada, in partnership with the Toronto Arrows, are delighted to announce today the hiring of Rob Howley in the position of senior assistant coach for Canada’s Men’s Rugby Team. As part of the signing, Howley will also work as a consultant with the Toronto Arrows for the 2021 Major League Rugby (MLR) season. This is an important 3-year signing for the senior men’s program running through the end of Rugby World Cup 2023.
Howley’s rugby resume is as impressive as it is extensive, both as a player and coach.
As a player, Howley played professionally for Cardiff before joining Wasps, where he won two Premiership titles and the 2004 Heineken Cup. Born and raised in Bridgend, he made 59 appearances for his native Wales and was selected for two British and Irish Lions tours in 1997 and 2001.
As a coach, Howley has excelled at the highest levels of international rugby and worked alongside some of the top coaches in the world over the last two decades, including Sir Graham Henry, Steve Hansen, Sir Ian McGeechan and Warren Gatland. Howley began his coaching career as an assistant coach with Cardiff Blues, and then moved to the Wales National Team. He was a member of the Wales coaching staff for the 2011 and 2015 Rugby World Cups, and on two occasions in 2012-13 and 2016-17 Howley became interim head coach of Wales, stepping in for Warren Gatland. He enjoyed tremendous success as a head coach, including winning the Six Nations Championship in 2013 with a last-game, championship-deciding victory over England. He also enjoyed wins against France, South Africa, and Ireland during his tenure. With the British and Irish Lions, Howley was attack coach during the 2009 tour of South Africa, the 2013 tour to Australia, and the 2017 tour to New Zealand.
“I am absolutely delighted to be joining Rugby Canada and begin working alongside Kingsley Jones and the other Canadian coaches,” said Howley. “I’m excited to get to work and help prepare Canada for Rugby World Cup qualification. I am also looking forward to my first season in MLR with the Toronto Arrows. There is a tremendous opportunity to leverage the synergy of a professional club loaded with domestic players in an emerging league to help support the national team – it is very similar to my past experience coaching in Wales.”
Head Coach Kingsley Jones said, “Rob is one of the most highly regarded coaches in international rugby and I’m ecstatic that he will be joining us at Rugby Canada. He’s someone that I’ve known and respected for a long time and the opportunity to have Rob join our program is a huge step forward for Canadian rugby. His experience and expertise will benefit not only our young players but our entire coaching staff.”
Rugby Canada’s Director of Rugby Operations, Dustin Hopkins added, “I’d like to thank Bill Webb and the Toronto Arrows for their partnership, in conjunction with philanthropic donations from dedicated Canadian rugby supporters in aiding Rugby Canada’s ambition in bringing Rob to Canada.”
Rugby Canada National Development Academy Head Coach, Jamie Cudmore added, “As a coach, the opportunity to work with and learn from one of the best tactical coaches in the world is a tremendous opportunity for me and our entire coaching staff. This signing comes at a great time as we continue to develop our academy programs.”
In addition to his coaching role with Canada’s Men’s Rugby Team, Howley will assist the Toronto Arrows in a consulting capacity during the 2021 MLR season.
“We are fortunate and excited to have Rob on board to work with our club’s young Canadian coaching staff,” said Mark Winokur, Toronto Arrows Chief Operating Officer and General Manager. “Not only does Rob bring his vast experience, but his manner and attitude meshes perfectly with the values and culture of the Arrows, and our guys are really fired up about welcoming him into the Arrows environment.”