COMMENT: Wales coach Rob Howley's future rests on Paris result
THIS evening's Six Nations clash with France in Paris is a pivotal match for the Welsh rugby team.
Win, and there is every chance of Wales retaining their Six Nations title. Lose, and there will be huge question marks over the future of stand-in coach Rob Howley and some of his more experienced players.
This time last year Wales, under Warren Gatland, were surging towards the Grand Slam. If a British Lions squad had been picked then it would have been packed with Welsh players.
Fast forward 12 months and Wales are on their worst losing streak for years, Gatland has been seconded as Lions coach, and on current form he will be picking more English and Irish players for the summer tour.
Despite repeated denials from inside the Welsh camp, it appears to those of us on the outside that Gatland's absence - initially through injury and now due to his Lions commitments - is having a hugely negative effect on the team.
With the exception of a meaningless game against the Barbarians, Wales have not won a match under Howley's command despite having almost the same playing staff that won the Grand Slam.
Is Rob Howley up to the job of coaching an international rugby team?
We are likely to know the answer to that question at the final whistle in Paris tonight.