Henson to make season bow
October 5, 2012
Gavin Henson will make his first Premiership start for London Welsh against Saracens on Sunday © Onside Images
Gavin Henson will make his first Premiership start for London Welsh against Saracens at the Kassam Stadium on Sunday.
The clash against one of his former sides will be Henson's first appearance for the Exiles since he suffered a minor fracture to his cheekbone during a pre-season fixture against the Scarlets.
Henson, who made just four appearaces for Sarries during the 2010-11 season, replaces Gordon Ross at fly-half in one of six changes made by head coach Lyn Jones to the starting line up which went down 31-25 to Gloucester at the Kassam on Sunday.
"I am really looking forward to making my first start for London Welsh in the Aviva Premiership on Sunday," said Henson. "Having been given the opportunity by Lyn Jones and the club to play in the Premiership, it was both disappointing and frustrating to pick up an injury against Scarlets in pre-season.
"However, the boys have done really well in the first five games and now I just cannot wait to start playing my part with the rest of the team. I am also very excited about playing at the Kassam in front of the London Welsh supporters for the first time.
"Saracens are an extremely good side, we know that, but this is a great opportunity both for me and for London Welsh to test ourselves against one of the best teams in the Aviva Premiership."
Jones added: "I'm very happy for him and very comfortable in starting him in this game. 'Gavin really wanted to be involved and we decided that the sort of player he is, it is probably best if we get him into the game straightaway.
"I would like to think that by November, he can be operating to the best of his ability. There's a long way to go, but we will give him as much chance to perform as possible. He will make mistakes, but among the mistakes there will be good bits, too. Gavin has been training really well and we've been giving him more responsibility within the squad, which he has enjoyed."
Hooker Dan George and centre James Lewis replace Neil Briggs and Sonny Parker, who both picked up injuries against Gloucester. A key member of Welsh's Championship winning team last season, Lewis will be making his Premiership debut on Sunday.
Canadian international Phil Mackenzie comes in on the ring wing, with Tom Arscott reverting to full back and Seb Jewell named on the bench. Mike Denbee returns to the side following the injury he sustained against Exeter Chiefs and replaces Michael Hills at openside flanker.
Charlie Hodgson, David Strettle and James Short all return to the Saracens backline with Alex Goode, Brad Barritt and Chris Ashton among those rested on rotation, Strettle will make his first start of the season and Owen Farrell will switch to inside centre with Hodgson named at fly-half. In the forwards, John Smit starts at hooker with second row George Kruis and flanker Andy Saull both getting their first run ous of the season.
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