The versatile 22-year-old, who has figured at stand-off and centre for the Wallabies this year, was a key figure when Australian Capital Territory thrashed Wales 69-30 on their summer tour Down Under.
Howard got a try in that game, another as Australia ran out 56-25 victors in the first Test, and then helped his side to clinch the series with a 42-3 triumph in the second Test.
When it comes to the Baa-Baas style of play, Howard is very much at home and today he will be searching for a Barbarian hat-trick. Last weekend he was at the heart of the 48-45 victory over Scotland at Murrayfield and 20 months ago he teamed- up with Robert Jones at half-back as the Barbarians beat South Africa 23-15 at Lansdowne Road.
Yet for all his success against Wales this year, Howard has come to respect Jonathan Humphreys' team. What the Welsh captain will be looking for is a morale-boosting win and for the home crowd to appreciate the style the coach Kevin Bowring is intent on taking through to the 1999 World Cup.
"I felt Wales learned a lot during the series against us. When I played for ACT against them they were quite ordinary, lost their focus and didn't seem fit enough," Howard said.
"But in the first Test they really had a go and by the end of the tour they were playing some good rugby. There is some real talent there.
"I thought scrum-half Rob Howley was quite exceptional and Wallaby skipper John Eales said the Welsh line-out was the best one we hit all year. They have the makings of a good side."
Wales, with a congested season that includes five capped matches before Christmas, launch that programme with a side including 12 of the team beaten 42-3 in Sydney.
A shoulder injury has ruled Hemi Taylor out of having a back row showdown with his New Zealand cousin Arran Pene, so Bowring will have to monitor closely the experiment of playing two recognised open-side flankers in the new caps, Martyn Williams and Kingsley Jones.
Stiffer tests lie ahead for Wales: France (25 September), Italy (5 October), Australia (22 November) and South Africa (15 December), but a first win in three over the Baa-Baas is a must for the new professional team.
n Olivier Roumat, the lock forward who was to have been the first Frenchman to captain the Barbarians, last night pulled out with a back injury.
WALES (v Barbarians, Cardiff Arms Park, today: W Proctor (Llanelli); I Evans (Llanelli), L Davies (Cardiff), N Davies (Llanelli), G Thomas (Bridgend); N Jenkins (Pontypridd), R Howley (Cardiff); C Loader (Swansea), J Humphreys (Cardiff, capt), J Davies (Neath), G Llewellyn (Harlequins), D Jones (Cardiff), K Jones (Ebbw Vale), S Williams (Neath), M Williams (Pontypridd). Replacements: J Thomas (Cardiff), A Thomas (Swansea), P John (Pontypridd), P Arnold (Swansea), L Mustoe (Cardiff), B Williams (Neath).
BARBARIANS: A Arrieta (Biarritz); A Bose (Mana), S Glas (France), R Dourthe (France), N Walker (Wales); P Howard (Australia), A Pichot (Argentina); A Watt (Scotland), J Hay (Scotland), R Snow (Canada), R McCall (Australia), A N Other, M Gasuna (Mana), A Pene (New Zealand), D Corkery (Ireland). Replacements: R Evans (Wales), P John (Pontypridd), R Collins (Wales), R Jones (Wales), P Burke (Ireland), S Davies (Swansea).
Referee: Jim Fleming (Scotland).Reuse content