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Last Updated: Monday, 1 November, 2004, 18:32 GMT
Howley was 'finest in the world'
By Simon Austin

Rob Howley
Rob basically had it all, he was just brilliant
Jonathan Davies
Rob Howley should be remembered as the finest scrum-half of his generation, according to former Wales legend and BBC pundit Jonathan Davies.

Howley, 34, retired on Monday after failing to recover from a wrist injury.

"People say maybe he was the best Northern hemisphere scrum-half of his generation - I think he was the best north or south," Davies told BBC Sport.

"He played behind a Welsh pack, but if he'd played for England he would have been that much better again."

Howley won 59 caps for Wales and was part of the victorious Lions tour to South Africa in 1997.

He also enjoyed an illustrious club career and was a key component on the Wasps side that lifted last season's Heineken Cup.

Davies said: "He was a truly world-class scrum-half. First and foremost he was such an athlete - he was so quick and so fit.

"But he also had a great pass, worked at his kicking game and was a continual danger in any game. He basically had it all, he was just brilliant.

"Sometimes you have ability and sometimes you have a good work ethic - he had both.

Jonathan Davies
Davies played alongside Howley for Cardiff and Wales
"He was dogged by injury but he always came back. He will be missed by Wales and Wasps."

Davies and Howley formed a formidable half-back partnership for Cardiff and Wales.

And Davies, who starred in rugby league as well as union, says Howley was a dream to play outside.

"The back row always had to keep an eye on him and that would give you an extra yard when you were playing at stand-off," Davies said.

"I played with three outstanding scrum-halves for Wales in Terry Holmes, Rob Jones and Rob Howley.

"They were from different generations and were different types of players but were all superb."

Howley has been linked with a move into coaching with Cardiff and Davies thinks his former colleague could make a success of such a move.

"I know that he's always wanted to go into coaching and whatever he turns his hand to he'll give 100%," Davies said.

"The difficult thing is when you go directly from playing to coaching, it's a big step.

"But I know he's done his coaching levels and he wants to go into coaching, so it will be interesting to see what he does do."

Howley has to end playing career
01 Nov 04 |  Rugby Union

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