However, with the series delicately poised at 1-1 injury ruled him out of the decisive clash and Australia ran out 29-23 winners to break Lions hearts.
Eight years later Howley was back with the Lions, this time in a coaching capacity as he was attack coach under Sir Ian McGeechan's leadership.
But it was a similar story for Howley as he was once again on the wrong end of a 2-1 Series scoreline.
Coming full circle to where his affinity with the Lions began Howley was back Down Under as attack coach and Warren Gatland's assistant this summer and certainly played his part in a first series victory in 16 years.
Holding the Welsh reins in Gatland's absence prior to this summer with the Kiwi recuperating from two broken heels and taking time out to prepare to lead the Lions in Australia, Howley endured a tricky time of it as Wales suffered eight consecutive defeats - including a 3-0 series defeat to Australia.
But after getting the last laugh this summer Howley was delighted to finally be able to toast a series victory with the British & Irish Lions.
"The manner of the win on Saturday - 41 points and scoring four tries to one - just shows we can do it," Howley said after the final Test.
"I've got no doubt, not only from a Welsh perspective, but all the players from England, Scotland and Ireland when they take on the southern hemisphere guys again they can go there knowing that they have beaten them..
"The magnitude of [the fact that] we've beaten them over the past three weeks having been there so many times and been so close and yet so far away.
"And the atmosphere at the stadium was priceless. That performance on Saturday evening, and the atmosphere, the players will never forget that for the rest of their lives.
"They've created history and it just shows how hard it is to win Lions series.
"It hadn't happened for 16 years and we've had a fairly high proportion of Welsh players and that makes it even sort of better."