Rob Howley has been named as an assistant coach for the Canada men’s national team.
In the 49-year-old’s first job since serving a ban for breaching betting rules, he will also act as a consultant for Major League Rugby (MLR) outfit Toronto Arrows.
Howley, a coaching lieutenant of Warren Gatland with Wales and the British and Irish Lions between 2008 and 2019, will now join up with compatriot Kingsley Jones on a three-year contract until the end of Rugby World Cup 2023.
The former Wales and Lions scrum-half, who played in 61 Tests, lost his post with Wales in dramatic fashion on the eve of the 2019 World Cup.
Howley was sent home from the tournament in order to take part in a World Rugby investigation, which subsequently found him to have placed 363 bets covering 1,163 matches over a period of almost four years.
The sanction, an 18-month suspension with nine months suspended, allowed him to return to the sport in June. This represents a chance to restart his career.
“I am absolutely delighted to be joining Rugby Canada and begin working alongside Kingsley Jones and the other Canadian coaches,” said Howley, who had been linked with the role of Italy head coach prior to revelations about his off-field misdemeanours.
“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.”
Drawn in a group with New Zealand, South Africa, Italy and Namibia, Canada lost three and drew one of their matches in Japan. Finishing bottom of pool B with a points difference of -163, they now have to qualify for the 2023 tournament.
Jamie Cudmore, the former Clermont lock who is now the head coach of Canada’s national development academy, saluted Howley as “one of the best tactical coaches in the world”. Jones also declared himself “ecstatic” at the coup.
“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,” added Jones.
“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.”