Howley wants to get off 'rollercoaster'
January 7, 2013
Rob Howley will take charge of Wales during the Six Nations with Warren Gatland set to concentrate on formulating his British & Irish Lions squad © PA Photos
Wales caretaker boss Rob Howley is desperate for his side find greater consistency in the forthcoming Six Nations and bring an end to an emotional 'rollercoaster'.
Howley, who will orchestrate Wales' defence of the northern hemisphere crown with regular coach Warren Gatland set to concentrate on formulating his British & Irish Lions squad, has seen his side experience the agony of a Rugby World Cup semi-final defeat and the joy of a Six Nations clean sweep in the recent past.
More recently they have slumped to a miserable run of seven straight Test defeats including headline-grabbing losses to Samoa and Argentina but Howley remains confident they can rediscover the form that saw them sweep all before them this time last year.
"I am looking forward to what will be a new personal experience," he told the Western Mail. "I have never doubted the attitude and commitment of the players. I know they will come into camp feeling as if they have something to prove and a need to put things right.
"They were so disappointed at what happened in the autumn, especially with the last-minute defeat to Australia. That will give us great motivation to start the tournament well. We all want to stop the rollercoaster ride we are on and we need to match the consistency we showed during the last Six Nations.
"The circumstances are different to 12 months ago. We spoke after the World Cup semi-final that we needed to back that success up in the Six Nations and we did that by winning the Grand Slam. But this time we are coming in on the back-foot after what happened in the autumn."
In a surprise move, Howley has opted not to take his squad to Spala in Poland for their usual pre-Championship training camp. The cryotherapy chambers and the relative obscurity of their second home have helped lay the foundations for their on-field success but they will stay at home ahead of their Six Nations opener against Ireland in Cardiff on February 2.
"We are staying in the country this time," added Howley, with the Welsh Rugby Union thought to have invested in their own cryotherapy chambers at the Vale of Glamorgan training base. "We have gone to Poland before on the last two occasions but it is a different environment now and we have chosen to stay at home. Hopefully we will have the English and French [Welsh players at clubs in England and France] players available for the three days in that first week of training."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Huw Richards assesses where Wales are after a mixed Six Nations, with front row seats still very much available for the World Cup
John Mitchell lapped up the action on 'Sensational Saturday' - but warns not to expect a repeat come Rugby World Cup time later this year
Craig Dowd warns England, Ireland and Wales they should play to their strengths rather than those of the All Blacks and the Wallabies
Tom Hamilton runs the rule over just where the six countries stand ahead of the global gathering in September