Henson linked with Premiership switch
August 20, 2010
Could absent Ospreys star Gavin Henson be heading to the English Premiership? © Getty Images
Absent Ospreys star Gavin Henson could be in line for a stunning move to the Aviva Premiership, according to reports.
Henson has not played since being injured in the Ospreys' Anglo-Welsh Cup semi-final defeat against Gloucester in March 2009 and was not included in the region's squad for the forthcoming Magners League season despite reports that he was ready to end his rugby exile.
And in the latest twist to the long-running speculation about the 28-year-old's playing future, the Western Mail reports that a leading Premiership club is lining up a dramatic swoop to secure his services. The newspaper suggests that London Wasps and Harlequins are amongst those set to be interested in signing the Wales international although other clubs could enter the fray should Henson opt for a fresh challenge in England.
The Ospreys are reportedly aware of the interest in the Grand Slam-winning centre but are keen to stress that the player still has a year to go on his contract - although it is understood he has forsaken his salary until he is ready to return to action. Ospreys elite performance director Andrew Hore maintained that if the player returned to action it would have to be with them.
Henson recently said, "If it didn't work out at the Ospreys, maybe I would have to look to England. I think I could play on for a while because I look after myself."
Henson, who recently split from long-term partner Charlotte Church, is expected to be announced as a contestant in the reality television show Strictly Come Dancing in the next few weeks. This would delay any rugby comeback until Christmas and would cast major doubt on his prospects of playing in a first World Cup for Wales in 2011.
"If Gavin returns to rugby we would expect him to come back to us," said Hore. "He is contracted to us and, having given him that break, we would like to think we have been very good to him. Discussions are still occurring and who knows what will happen? From a team perspective, we have isolated it as an issue that has to be dealt with by the board.
"The reason we have done that is our management team is under enough stress and have a massive squad to deal with. We can't focus on if and when Gavin is going to be back or not, we just have to get on with the day-to-day running of the ship. He knows that the door is always open. He can knock and have a chat.
"It is just a matter of where Gavin is at and what he wants to do. You can't force someone to do something they don't want to. It will be hard for him to come back and it will have to be done on a progressive basis, which will take some time. Time is running out if he wants to go to the World Cup, but the thing about Gavin is that he is very talented. His ability to see space and react are not lost. I also hear he has kept himself in good shape."
As Ray McLoughlin prepares to celebrate his 75th birthday, Huw Richards pays tribute to the man and the selectors who had the wisdom to bring him into the Ireland fold
John Taylor argues the world's best XVs players must be given a chance to play in the Olympics to increase the appeal of the game
The All Blacks' form is not a peaking issue, but Hansen must threaten to wield his axe, to demand improvement, Craig Dowd writes
"It has been the World Cup that smashed down the gender barriers of the sport." Tom Hamilton looks back at a remarkable tournament