Wales captain Sam Warburton has been ruled out of Saturday's RBS 6 Nations clash against France in Paris.
The Cardiff Blues flanker has a stinger injury, a problem which normally affects the shoulder.
Ryan Jones takes over as skipper and wears the number six shirt, with Justin Tipuric starting at openside flanker.
Howley said: "We didn't start the tournament the way we wanted to on the weekend but Saturday is a chance for us to go out and show what we can do. We know that we will have to start well and start the way we finished the game against Ireland.
"It's disappointing to have Sam ruled out but Ryan comes in as captain with a wealth of experience. Playing France in Paris is always a huge match but we have worked hard as a squad this week and want to deliver a performance we know we are capable of."
Wales team: L Halfpenny (Cardiff Blues); A Cuthbert (Cardiff Blues), J Davies (Scarlets), J Roberts (Cardiff Blues), G North (Scarlets); D Biggar (Ospreys), M Phillips (Bayonne); G Jenkins (Toulon), R Hibbard (Ospreys), A Jones (Ospreys), A Coombs (Newport Gwent Dragons), I Evans (Ospreys), R Jones (Ospreys, capt), J Tipuric (Ospreys), T Faletau (Newport Gwent Dragons).
Replacements: K Owens (Scarlets), P James (Bath), C Mitchell (Exeter), L Reed (Cardiff Blues), A Shingler (Scarlets), L Williams (Cardiff Blues), J Hook (Perpignan), S Williams (Scarlets).