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Wed Apr 23 19:31:30 SAST 2014

Henson given another chance by London Welsh

Reuters | 10 July, 2012 08:420 Comments
FILE PHOTO: Cardiff Blues Gavin Henson Sacked
Gavin Henson of Cardiff makes a break during the LV= Cup match between Cardiff Blues and Harlequins at the Cardiff City Stadium on February 5, 2012 in Cardiff, Wales
Image by: Richard Heathcote / Getty Images

Premiership newcomers London Welsh have signed controversial former Wales centre Gavin Henson to bolster their squad.

The move reunites the 30-year-old with ex-Ospreys coach Lyn Jones after they won two Celtic League titles (2005 and 2007) during a five-year spell together between 2003 and 2008.

  A double Grand Slam winner in 2005 and 2008, Henson has 33 caps, scoring 133 points, and last played for Wales in a World Cup warm-up against England in August 2011 in Cardiff.

  The back, who was sacked by Cardiff Blues in April and has also played for Saracens and Toulon since leaving the Ospreys, links up with former club mate and Wales centre Sonny Parker.

  “Gavin has a great talent but over the past three or four seasons he has not realised his full potential for a number of reasons that are well documented,” said Jones.

  “I sincerely hope and believe he can now draw a line under that period and move forward again with London Welsh,” he added on the club’s website (www.london-welsh.co.uk).

  Henson left the Blues following a drinking incident on a flight back from Glasgow after which he publicly apologised for causing offence to airline staff and passengers.

  Henson, who missed last year’s World Cup with a wrist injury and played no part in the 2012 Six Nations, had joined the Blues in October after being released by Toulon.

  He was interested in signing a new deal with the French Top 14 team but was suspended after unconfirmed media reports that he had fought with a team mate.

  “What’s important for Gavin is that he concentrates 100% on his game and learning how to become the best he can possibly be again,” added London Welsh coach Jones.

  “We all appreciate the skills that he can bring to a game but what team mates and coaches will be looking for is consistency of that ability.

  “That’s the challenge for Gavin, to hold his concentration fully on rugby as he did when he started his career, when rugby was first, second and third on his list of priorities.”

 Henson made his Wales debut in 2001 on the Tour of Japan and kicked the winning penalty in the 2005 success over England in Cardiff which led to the country’s first Grand Slam since 1978.

  He was selected for the British Lions Tour of New Zealand in 2005 and started the second Test in Auckland.

  In 2008 Henson again featured in all five matches as Wales secured a second Grand Slam in three years.

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Henson given another chance by London Welsh

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