Howlett takes the corporate path with Munster

Getty Images     07 Apr 2014     Getty Images

Howlett told the Irish Examiner he didn't have to lace up his boots to help the club.

It is just over a year since a shoulder injury ended his career, forcing the 34-year-old out of the game after 114 appearances, and 35 tries, for the club.

It was a season earlier than he had planned but the decision was forced when there was too much risk in playing on, he said.

"I loved it [rugby] at the time and left it at a good times, where I wasn't hanging on. I still felt I was playing good rugby, there was no more I wanted to achieve and the way I left it, I could just close the door and say 'that was a great time in my life'."

Howlett now works for Irish investment company OCI and is involved in the search for new business in the field of renewable energy, minerals and mining.

In his corporate role for the club he said: "Munster recognised the threat of some of the French clubs, the French league, even the English Premiership, some of the budgets that these clubs have and how were we to compete with that? So they put their heads together and put a commercial board together."

Howlett's job is to broaden Munster's business network and commercial opportunities.

"I guess this is a role that keeps me involved in rugby, which I love and I'll always be involved in at some level. And it's a way of helping at all levels, not just the professional team but the next generation, the young players some of the other players through the mentoring as well," he said.

Competing with the overseas clubs is a battle and he highlighted the 34 million Euro budget the Toulouse club could call on as being greater than what Ireland's four provinces had available between them.

Howlett said one of the aspects Munster could call on was the passion that its younger players showed for the side.

"The great thing at the moment is that rugby is the hot topic again and that's a result of what the Irish team have been doing under Joe Schmidt. The provinces are successful and the Heineken Cup's coming up and we're getting back to full stadia, full hospitality and the signs are all good," he said.