Lions race to spice up Six Nations
Wales interim coach Rob Howley believes the incentive of a place in the B&I Lions squad will bring an extra buzz to the 2013 Six Nations.
Wales interim coach Rob Howley believes the 2013 Six Nations will bring an extra buzz given the additional prize that lies around the corner for those players who impress.
Howley will lead Wales in the defence of their Grand Slam crown while fellow Lions coach Warren Gatland concentrates full-time on Britain and Ireland's elite ahead of their tour of Australia.
The former Wales scrumhalf knows exactly what it's like to prepare for the northern hemisphere's top competition as a player in a Lions year having done so in both 1997 and 2001.
Howley went on to make a sufficient impression in both tournaments to secure selection for the Lions and he insists every single international player eligible will be desperate to do the same this spring.
"There's nothing like a Six Nations before a Lions tour," said Howley.
"For both Graham [Lions assistant coach Graham Rowntree] and myself when we were players, there was an 'X' on the calendar with the date of the first Test of a Lions tour.
"You knew you had four or five games to perform in your national jersey to put your hand up.
"None of the Home Unions players will lack motivation in terms of the prize at stake of wearing the Lions jersey."
Next year's Six Nations kicks off on Saturday, February 2 when Wales host Ireland in Cardiff before Scotland travel to London to face England.
Howley will be desperate to see Wales bounce back from a disappointing year to the 2012 season as they chase a fourth Grand Slam in nine seasons.
After hosting the Irish in week one, Wales travel to France, Italy and Scotland before facing England at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday, March 16.