Howley's first match as skipper is the friendly against Italy at Stradey Park on 7 February. The Wales team to face the Italians shows five changes from that defeated by New Zealand at Wembley in November, with Ieuan Evans and Arwel Thomas both returning.
Meanwhile, Ireland have made seven changes from the side beaten by Italy in Bologna last month for the Five Nations opener against Scotland on Saturday week.
WALES (v Italy, Llanelli, 7 February): N Jenkins (Pontypridd); I Evans (Bath), A Bateman (Richmond), S Gibbs (Swansea), G Thomas (Cardiff); A Thomas (Swansea), R Howley (Cardiff, capt); A Lewis (Cardiff), B Williams (Richmond), D Young (Cardiff), G Llewellyn (Harlequins), M Voyle (Llanelli), R Appleyard (Swansea), S Quinnell (Richmond), M Williams (Pontypridd). Replacements: K Morgan, P John (both Pontypridd), N Thomas (Bath), C Stephens (Bridgend), L Mustoe (Cardiff), J Humphreys (Cardiff).