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Howley lines up 100th cap for Williams

Wales caretaker coach Rob Howley will give flanker Martyn Williams the chance to win his 100th Test cap in next month's clash with the Barbarians.

Howley has been placed in charge on a caretaker basis for that match and the following three-Test tour of Australia after head coach Warren Gatland suffered a foot injury in an accident at home. He confirmed on Tuesday that Sam Warburton will continue as captain following Wales' successful World Cup and Six Nations campaigns.

But, with the Australia tour starting just a week after the Baa-Baas Test and Warburton likely to be among a group of players flown Down Under to acclimatise, his fellow Cardiff Blues flanker Williams is set to reach three figures on June 2 at the Millennium Stadium.

"We have taken the decision to ask Martyn to come in and do a job for us for sound rugby reasons," said Howley.

"We need to start off the summer with a win against the Baa-Baas, but it is also fitting that he will have the chance to run out in front of a Millennium Stadium crowd one last time to say goodbye.

"Martyn is the ultimate professional, he will be a proud man on the day, but once the whistle goes he will be one of 15 players looking for victory and he will do the jersey proud, just as he has done 99 times before."

Williams, now 36, made his international debut against the representative side back in 1996.

Howley, who will announce his full summer training squad next Monday, said of his elevation: "In these unforeseen circumstances I'm delighted and proud to have been given the opportunity to be the interim head coach.

"The fact that I feel both ready and able to take on the challenges ahead is testament to the integrated approach Warren Gatland has taken to building his international squad and coaching team over the last four years."


From Belfast Telegraph