Gavin Henson: Bath back pushing for Premiership starting place

Gavin Henson
Henson has played 17 times for Bath in the Premiership

Gavin Henson's performance for Bath against Northampton has strengthened his claims for a starting place, says coach Neal Hatley.

The Welsh utility back has only made two Premiership starts since joining the club last summer.

But 32-year-old Henson came off the bench to help Bath secure a losing bonus point in Saturday's 31-24 defeat by Saints at Franklin's Gardens.

"Gav will put his hand up now as he has been doing most weeks," said Hatley.

Henson has 33 Wales caps, but has not appeared at international level since 2011 and prior to his move to the Rec, had played for four clubs in three years.

But he is now on his second year-long contract with Bath and has been involved from the bench in games against Sale and Saints this term.

And after Henson set up Olly Woodburn's second-half try at Franklin's Gardens, Hatley told BBC Radio Bristol: "The bench made a massive impact. We started to win our kicking battle and Gav made a big difference coming on.

"Luke [Arscott] has been very good in the first few games but Gav has some unique talents - one of which is kicking that ball 60 or 70 metres."

Northampton v Bath
Bath were unable to beat champions Northampton on Saturday, despite a second-half comeback

Bath's defeat by Northampton brought to an end their three-match unbeaten run in the Premiership.

But captain Stuart Hooper said the result against the reigning champions will not affect their preparations for Friday's meeting with Saracens.

"There's not a huge amount of re-grouping to do now. It's not a car crash - we came here and got a losing bonus point," said lock Hooper.

"They're a young, resilient group of lads. When there's a six-day turn around, and games against champions and former champions are coming, you have to just get back on the horse."