Roberts questions Henson campaign
September 9, 2010
Gavin Henson has caused another stir in Welsh rugby © Getty Images
Wales centre Jamie Roberts has questioned the Welsh Rugby Union's (WRU) decision to use Gavin Henson as the poster-boy for the national team's new playing kit.
Hours after he was announced as a contestant on BBC reality TV show Strictly Come Dancing, a giant poster of Henson modelling the new Under Armour strip was unveiled at the Millennium Stadium.
The Ospreys midfielder has not played for Wales since March 2009, having been on unpaid leave from his region for the last 18 months, and his inclusion in the marketing campaign has understandably raised eyebrows among current players.
Roberts, who is Wales' incumbent inside-centre, questioned the move on his Twitter page and labelled it as an 'interesting choice to say the least'.
"Without saying anything too controversial, it's an interesting choice to say the least," he told The Western Mail. "Obviously his profile is sky-high at the moment with his dancing thing and the union have decided to use that. Whether Gavin Henson returns to rugby remains to be seen. Whatever he decides, Welsh rugby is not just about him. It's about the team and individuals working hard within that team.
"The boys have worked very hard over the last couple of years since he hasn't been here, so it's an interesting decision to use that picture. He is a talented player, but if he does come back to play he is going to have to earn his place in the Wales team like any other player. He is no different to anyone else in that respect.
"He will have to train hard and perform well for his club like any of us have to do to earn our right to wear the Welsh shirt. He has got other matters on his hands now with his dancing competition."
Wales legend Gareth Edwards has also been critical of the decision to use Henson's image, calling it a 'misjudgement' on the part of the WRU.
"I would say it was a misjudgement," he said. "I could understand why the players might be upset because they are working hard every day and Gavin hasn't played for 18 months. "I can understand why companies want to use their biggest marketing tool, and Henson might still be the biggest name in Welsh rugby, but he is not part of the squad so I cannot understand why they would want to promote him."
Proposals to remove promotion and relegation from the Aviva Premiership would be for the good of the game overall, argues John Taylor
Ireland have the world sitting up and taking notice - and rugby's structure in Europe will aid their Rugby World Cup bid, writes John Mitchell
Where does Italy's win over Scotland rank among their successes in the Six Nations? Scrum Sevens investigates
The tone was set early on in Dublin as a more clinical Ireland made England pay. All is not lost, however, argues Phil Vickery