Gavin Henson included in Wales' 35-man training squad

Gavin Henson
Henson has played only twice for Wales since 2009

Gavin Henson has been named in a 35-man Wales training squad for the week-long trip to Poland starting on Sunday.

Coach Warren Gatland has selected six uncapped players, including Ospreys pair Ashley Beck and Rhys Webb, and Cardiff Blues wing Harry Robinson.

The other uncapped players are Scarlets trio Liam Williams, Rhodri Jones and Lou Reed.

Sam Warburton will captain a squad that also features France-based Mike Phillips, James Hook and Lee Byrne.

Three players - Craig Mitchell (Exeter), Rhys Gill (Saracens) and Sale Sharks back-row Andy Powell - join the squad from English clubs. But there is no place for Sale's British & Lions scrum-half Dwayne Peel.

The squad will be reduced after Wales return from the Olympic Centre at Cetniewo north of Gdansk, where the players will use cryotherapy chambers to aid recovery after intensive training sessions.

It is Henson's first appearance in a Wales squad since he dislocated his wrist in the World Cup warm-up match against England in August 2011. It meant he failed to make the trip to New Zealand.

The 29-year-old, who has been capped 33 times, has played three times - twice at full-back and once at centre - since joining Cardiff Blues in October 2011.

Despite being included by Wales, the Blues are set to leave Henson out of their match day 23 for their final Heineken Cup Pool game against Racing Metro 92 on Sunday.

Gatland has stuck with the majority of his Rugby World Cup squad, but there is still no room for Stephen Jones, who was omitted from the team that went down 24-18 to Australia in December 2011.

Gill, Beck, Webb and Robinson are the only players in the squad who have not been in the international selectors' plans so far this season.

With Shane Williams having retired from international rugby it paves the way for the likes of Blues' Alex Cuthbert to make a bid for the left wing berth.

Wales begin their Six Nations campaign against Ireland in Dublin on Sunday, 5 February.external-link

"We have had to strike a balance with this squad," said Gatland, who guided Wales to fourth place in the 2011 Rugby World Cup.

"The majority are those players who excelled for Wales during the Rugby World Cup.

"But we are also taking the opportunity to look at one or two youngsters before probably cutting our numbers even further before the start of the RBS Six Nations.

"We have kept a couple of older heads and we have injuries, with Alun Wyn Jones, Josh Turnbull, Rob McCusker and Luke Charteris all unavailable to us, but the emphasis on development and planning for the future is there for everyone to see.

"These are exciting times for Welsh rugby.

"We showed a huge amount of potential at the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand and we will be working as hard as humanly possible to ensure that we reach our potential in this year's Six Nations championship."


Backs: Mike Phillips (Bayonne), Lloyd Williams (Cardiff Blues), Rhys Webb (Ospreys), Rhys Priestland (Scarlets), James Hook (Perpignan), Jamie Roberts (Cardiff Blues), Jonathan Davies (Scarlets), Scott Williams (Scarlets), Gavin Henson (Cardiff Blues), Ashley Beck (Ospreys), George North (Scarlets), Leigh Halfpenny (Cardiff Blues), Alex Cuthbert (Cardiff Blues), Harry Robinson (Cardiff Blues), Liam Williams (Scarlets), Lee Byrne (Clermont Auvergne)

Forwards: Craig Mitchell (Exeter Chiefs), Adam Jones (Ospreys), Ryan Bevington (Ospreys), Gethin Jenkins (Cardiff Blues), Paul James (Ospreys), Rhys Gill (Saracens), Rhodri Jones (Scarlets), Matthew Rees (Scarlets), Huw Bennett (Ospreys), Ken Owens (Scarlets), Bradley Davies (Cardiff Blues), Ian Evans (Ospreys), Lou Reed (Scarlets), Ryan Jones (Ospreys), Dan Lydiate (Newport Gwent Dragons), Sam Warburton (capt, Cardiff Blues), Justin Tipuric (Ospreys), Toby Faletau (Newport Gwent Dragons), Andy Powell (Sale Sharks).

Top Stories