Wales World Cup rivals ahead of me says Gavin Henson

Gavin Henson
Henson was annoyed with his performance against the Barbarians in June

Gavin Henson believes he is behind his centre rivals in the battle for a Wales World Cup place.

The 29-year-old wants a chance to shine in Wales' rematch with England at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday.

Warren Gatland's side lost 23-19 at Twickenhm in their opening World Cup warm-up game in which Henson says Jamie Roberts, Jonathan Davies and Scott Williams stole a march.

"Jamie, Jonathan and Scott are ahead of me," said Henson.

"But once I get my chance it's up to me to try and turn the tables on that and that's what I'm hoping to do."

Roberts and Davies started at Twickenham and Williams came on in the wake of Morgan Stoddart's World Cup bid being wrecked by a broken leg.

Henson was controversially recalled by Wales for their 31-28 defeat by the Barbarians in June, more than two years after his last cap, and admits his performance that day left him annoyed.

Jonny Wilkinson

He said: "I wasn't too pleased with my performance in the Baa-Baas game. I was glad to be back playing for Wales, which was amazing.

"But I probably left my game in the training week, I think. I'm just a little bit annoyed with myself for that.

"But I'll learn from that and hopefully I can just get a chance in one of these games."

Wales finish their on-field preparations for the trip down under against Argentina in Cardiff on 20 August.

Stoddart's misfortune has left 38 players battling for the 30 places that will be announced on Monday, 22 August.

Henson has also played full-back for Wales and has stated he would like to return to the number 10 jersey in which he made his name as a youngster.

Fellow ex-Osprey James Hook has played fly-half, centre and full-back at Test level, while Rhys Priestland was due to start in the full-back role at Twickenham.

Stephen Jones' late withdrawal ahead of kick-off with a "minor" calf strain prompted Priestland's move to fly-half and Stoddart starting in the number 15 jersey.

"I can definitely feel the pressure, but that's not a bad thing. There's huge competition for places," Henson added.

"Physically and mentally I feel great. I really do. I'd love to play against England, especially after seeing how well the boys did at the weekend.

"I always enjoy playing against England. You grow up watching Wales-England matches and that's always the game you want to be involved in and for me it's no different now."

He also confirmed that he will not make a decision about his future at club level until Wales coach Gatland settles on his tournament squad.

Henson moved from the Ospreys to Saracens and then Toulon last season.

While in the south of France Henson became embroiled in an off-field incident that led to a one-week ban.

But Toulon cited financial pressures and Henson's possible involvement in the World Cup as the reason for not keeping him in the south of France for next season.

Wales' preliminary World Cup squad

Forwards: Scott Andrews, Gethin Jenkins (Blues), Lloyd Burns (Dragons), Huw Bennett, Ryan Bevington, Adam Jones, Paul James (Ospreys), Ken Owens, Matthew Rees (Scarlets), Craig Mitchell (Exeter), Bradley Davies, Sam Warburton, Martyn Williams (Blues), Luke Charteris, Danny Lydiate, Toby Faletau (Dragons), Ryan Jones, Alun Wyn Jones, Jonathan Thomas, Justin Tipuric (Ospreys), Josh Turnbull, (Scarlets), Gareth Delve (Melbourne Rebels), Andy Powell (Sale Sharks).

Backs: Michael Phillips (Bayonne), Lloyd Williams (Blues), Tavis Knoyle (Scarlets), Jamie Roberts (Blues), James Hook (Perpignan), Jonathan Davies, Stephen Jones, Rhys Priestland, Scott Williams (Scarlets) Gavin Henson (unattached), Leigh Halfpenny (Blues), Lee Byrne (Clermont Auvergne), Aled Brew (Dragons), Shane Williams (Ospreys), George North (Scarlets).

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