Henson to make comeback with Barbarians
September 27, 2010
Gavin Henson will play for the Barbarians © Getty Images
Gavin Henson has accepted an invitation to turn out for the Barbarians against South Africa at Twickenham on December 4.
The Wales centre has not played a competitive game in 18 months after taking unpaid leave from the Ospreys but is set to make his long-awaited comeback in the famous black and white of the Baa Baas.
Henson is currently taking part in BBC reality TV show Strictly Come Dancing but has set his sights on returning to the Wales squad in time for next year's Rugby World Cup.
The 28-year-old is currently involved in legal wrangling over his future with the Ospreys and recently raised the ire of several team-mates after being photographed in a Wales shirt for a marketing campaign. Speculation has been rife that he is set to move to an Aviva Premiership club, although reports have been rubbished by Wasps, Harlequins, Saracens and London Irish.
Barbarians contracts manager Mike Burton is hopeful that Henson will prove his fitness for the game, which will pair him with Ospreys scrum-half Mike Phillips, former All Black lock Chris Jack and Wallabies Matt Giteau and Rocky Elsom.
"Obviously our invitation to Gavin will attract a lot of attention," he said. "He has other commitments outside rugby and he is conscious of the need for match fitness in order to do himself and the club justice.
"We will be in regular contact with him and his home club, the Ospreys, in the next few weeks and, all being well, our big game at Twickenham will be the first opportunity to see him back on the representative stage."
The Baa Baas, who defeated New Zealand on their last Twickenham outing in December 2009, will again be coached by Italy boss Nick Mallett, with assistance from Alan Solomons.
"Both Nick and Alan made a big impression in the week that they were with us last December and we had no hesitation in inviting them back to work with our squad again," Barbarians president Micky Steele-Bodger said. "Both have a great empathy with the traditions of the club and we know they will do us proud."
The Scotland coach enters his first Six Nations with at least one familiar face to look to for inspiration - Joe Schmidt. He chats to Tom Hamilton
Italy coach Jacques Brunel spoke to ESPN ahead of his final season as Italy coach and tells of his desire to experiment and evolve
"There's no bull with me, I just tell it straight." Tom Hamilton talks to Warren Gatland in an exclusive interview
With the retirement of Adam Jones, Welsh rugby says goodbye to a great player and one of its biggest personalities too, writes Tom Hamilton