London Welsh sign Gavin Henson
July 9, 2012
Gavin Henson has signed for London Welsh © PA Photos
London Welsh have announced the signing of controversial Welsh back Gavin Henson.
The move sees 30-year-old Henson link up with Exiles boss Lyn Jones once again after their five-year spell at the Ospreys between 2003 and 2008. Henson, who has two Grand Slams to his name, has endured a controversial few years with the Premiership newcomers his fifth club in the last 15 months.
Henson parted company with the Ospreys in 2010 following a lengthy injury-enforced lay-off and would later link up with Premiership side Saracens. However, that move lasted just four months with Henson opting for a switch to French side Toulon.
But the British & Irish Lions international was at the Top 14 giants for just two months before being sacked for a "breach of contract". After failing to earn a spot in Wales' Rugby World Cup squad, Henson was offered a lifeline by PRO12 side Cardiff Blues but he found himself sacked six months later after an off-field incident.
London Welsh have been linked with Henson ever since they earned promotion to the Premiership and Jones is relishing the chance to nurture him back to his best.
"Gavin has a great talent but over the past three or four seasons he has not realised his full potential for a number of reasons that are well documented," Jones said. "I sincerely hope and believe he can now draw a line under that period and move forward again with London Welsh.
"What's important for Gavin is that he concentrates 100% on his game and learning how to become the best he can possibly be again. I think he can add a great deal to our game and we can also do a lot for him.
"We all appreciate the skills that he can bring to a game but what teammates and coaches will be looking for is consistency of that ability. That's the challenge for Gavin, to hold his concentration fully on rugby as he did when he started his career, when rugby was first, second and third on his list of priorities."
London Welsh managing director John Taylor added: "We are obviously delighted to have been able to sign a player of Gavin's pedigree.
"He is the first to admit things have gone a little haywire over the last few years but he has impressed on me that he still feels he has a lot to prove as a rugby player and is determined to ensure he is not remembered as somebody who never fulfilled his great potential. I am confident he will fit in well here and it is obvious he cannot wait to get back to what he does best - playing rugby."
But while the Exiles have confirmed Henson's signature, one man they may be forced to wait on is former Ospreys fullback Barry Davies. He has been linked with a switch to London Welsh but he denied rumours that he had signed with Jones' side on Twitter. Davies said: "Can I clear up that I 100% have not signed with London Welsh!"
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Firdose Moonda looks at the moves towards greater integration within South African rugby ... and what the future holds
Martin Gillingham looks ahead to what he believes is the most remarkable ever climax to the league phase of the Top 14
With just two rounds left in the regular season, we look at the prospects of the teams taking part in the Championship play-offs
Joe Simpson talks to Charlie Morgan about loss, Wasps and being England's game-breaker