Gavin Henson: Bide time on Wales call-up, says Lyn Jones

Gavin Henson fixes his gaze on the goalposts as London Welsh lose 68-19 to Stade Francais in the Amlin Challenge Cup in Oxford
Gavin Henson fixes his gaze on the goalposts as London Welsh lose 68-19 to Stade Francais in the Amlin Challenge Cup in Oxford

London Welsh coach Lyn Jones says Gavin Henson should not be automatically viewed as a potential Wales squad member in the near future.

Henson earned Jones' praise after their 68-19 Amlin Challenge Cup "lesson" by Stade Francais.

BBC Wales asked Jones if Henson, 30, was anywhere near the form needed for an international recall.

"He's two matches in… I think we need to bide our time a little bit," replied the former Ospreys boss.

"And allow him some time to settle in and to play and we'll see what comes of it."

Henson has reached the heights by helping Wales win Grand Slams in 2005 and 2008 and was a British and Irish Lion on the tour to New Zealand in 2005.

But he has also attracted criticism from some who believe he has not achieved his potential.

Involvement in reality television programmes during a sabbatical for injury then personal reasons between March 2009 and October 2010 also brought scorn from within the game.

But whenever fit and available, Henson has been included in national squads chosen by Warren Gatland.

That included a call-up to Wales' pre-2011 World Cup squad despite Henson not being employed by a club after he left Toulon at the end of the 2010-11 season.

Henson again failed to make a World Cup - his third disappointment - on that occasion because of a broken arm suffered in Wales' final World Cup warm-up game against England in Cardiff.

Gatland will coach Wales twice in 2012/13 with his assistant, Robert Howley, taking charge for the rest of the season as the New Zealander concentrates on his job as Lions head coach for the 2013 tour to Australia.

Howley guides Wales into their November clashes with Argentina and Samoa, Gatland resuming his role against New Zealand and Australia that follow.

Henson was brought back into the fold for Wales' 2012 Six Nations campaign, but he played no part in the Grand Slam that followed.

He had joined Cardiff Blues regaining fitness from the broken arm.

However, Henson was sacked by the Blues in April, 2012 over allegations of misbehaviour on a flight and rejoined Jones at London Welsh ahead of their debut Aviva Premiership campaign.

A fractured cheekbone suffered at the Scarlets in a pre-season friendly delayed Henson's competitive return.

But he impressed as the Exiles battled hard on his fly-half league debut for them in defeat by another former club, Saracens.

Henson backed up that display by impressing Jones once again against Stade Francais.

The former Wales flanker said: "I thought Gavin Henson was excellent at 10 again and held us together.

"And there were one or two other individual performances where boys stood up."


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