Howley takes pride in running Wallabies close

Wales caretaker coach Rob Howley remains proud of his side for running Australia so close despite three successive defeats in their hard-fought Test series. A mere 11 points separated the two teams over the games in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney, with the third Test at the weekend decided in favour of the Wallabies 20-19.

Howley took over as coach for the pre-tour game against the Barbarians and in Australia while Warren Gatland was recovering from injuries sustained at Easter in a fall at his holiday home in New Zealand. Although Gatland arrived in Australia in time to watch the second and third Tests, he left coaching duties in the capable hands of Howley.

"I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity and challenge. It was everything I expected it to be – challenging," Howley said. "Without the support of [coaching staff] Shaun Edwards, Robin McBryde and Neil Jenkins, we might not have got so close. We have all got a lot to thank Warren for because he brought us all in and has given us our head on several occasions. The experience the players have had will help us to improve. Our attitude and effort got us so close to beating the Wallabies and we have left a mark here that we are quite proud of."