Tomas Francis: Rob Howley dealt with Wales criticism well, says prop

Tomas Francis
Suspension and international call-ups have limited Tomas Francis to just three Exeter appearances this season

Wales prop Tomas Francis says Rob Howley dealt well with criticism of the way he has coached the national side.

Howley is in charge as Warren Gatland has temporarily stepped aside to coach the British and Irish Lions in New Zealand next summer.

Wales lost 32-8 to Australia before close wins over Argentina and Japan and a comfortable win over South Africa.

"I thought he handled it well in camp, he didn't put it back on us," said Exeter Chiefs forward Francis.

"He got us ready to win three on the bounce after that (loss to Australia), the most successful autumn ever for Wales and people forget that."

Francis started in the wins over Argentina and South Africa, having been a replacement in the loss to the Wallabies.

"In Wales it's quite a closed environment and after the first game they found it easy to jump on him," Francis told BBC Sport.

"He was the man to target, he was the change and they took that to him."

Francis also says he is relieved that 'Gatland's Law' does not apply to him.

The rule, which governs how many non-Wales based players can be picked for the national side, does not cover Francis as he was born in England and came up through the English system, playing for Doncaster and London Scottish in the Championship before moving to Exeter in 2014.

"At the minute I don't have to worry about that, I can just concentrate on trying to play well here and hopefully that reflects in getting picked there," said Francis.

"It's fantastic and means I can concentrate on my game here. I just need game time now, I've got to train as hard as I can and hope that (Exeter coach) Rob Baxter gives me my chance."

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