Blues hold fire on Henson debut
October 27, 2011
Henson will have to wait to pull on the Cardiff Blues shirt © Getty Images
Cardiff Blues' back coach Gareth Baber is adamant the side will not rush the introduction of new signing Gavin Henson.
Henson missed out on the recent World Cup due to a wrist injury and is still in the midst of his recovery from surgery. With the likes of Jamie Roberts returning from New Zealand after an intense campaign, Baber will not introduce the British & Irish Lions centre until he is ready and fully fit.
"We are in no rush to throw Gavin in there," Barber told Wales Online. "We have no reason to throw him in there straight off. We want him to get back to the position he needs to be so he can put pressure on his teammates.
"I don't know exactly what his return date will be, but you are probably looking at some time in November. He's had a bad wrist injury to get over and that's just notoriously difficult to heal. You use your hand a lot in rugby and in contact areas, so obviously it's got to be right before he comes back. So I'm going to reserve judgement on that one.
"We don't want to push him too quickly. We want to get the best out of him and put him in the best situation to push him into this team. It's our job as coaches, conditioners and physios to make sure we stage his reintroduction into rugby so that he gets that hardened view of the game again, both physically and mentally, under that stress and that pressure."
With Henson a high-profile figure in the media - especially after featuring in a recent television show labelled The Batchelor - Baber expects the centre to knuckle down like the rest of the team and is adamant no player will be picked on reputation alone.
"I think people are going to talk about Gavin whatever happens if I'm honest, whether he's playing or he's not," he said. "You guys want to speak about him. His job is to come into the Cardiff Blues and get his head down and work. The conversations we've had have assured us that's going to happen.
"Then hopefully he can put himself in a position where he can push himself into the team. But there's a lot of quality in our squad and Gavin's got to do his utmost to get himself in there and prove his worth to play in the Blues set-up."
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