Cardiff Blues sack Henson
April 2, 2012
Gavin Henson has been sacked by the Cardiff Blues © PA Photos
The Cardiff Blues have sacked centre Gavin Henson after his latest off-field incident.
The Blues announced that Henson, 30, had been suspended on Saturday evening for his antics in the wake of their 31-3 RaboDirect PRO12 defeat to Glasgow. Henson apologised for his behaviour, saying he was "truly embarrassed" but he has been dismissed with immediate effect following a meeting of the Blues management this morning.
The Blues' statement read: "The Cardiff Blues management have discussed the matter at length but have acted swiftly since the incident occurred on Saturday morning.
"Gavin admitted himself that his behaviour was totally unacceptable and the immediate termination of his contract sends out a clear message that behaviour like that will not be tolerated at the Blues.
"We have a duty to our supporters and sponsors to protect the good name of Cardiff Blues and those associated with our brand. Gavin Henson is obviously a talented rugby player and it's unfortunate that his career at the Blues has ended this way."
"However, we would like to thank him for his service and wish him the best of luck with his future career."
Henson joined the Blues on an eight-month contract in October, but has struggled to make an impact, making just eight appearances for the region.
The Wales centre, who has won 33 caps for his country, admitted in his apology that he had been out drinking following the Friday night fixture at Firhill, and that he had carried on drinking on the flight the next morning. The airline Flybe have launched their own investigation into the matter.
His dismissal by the Blues, Henson's fourth club in little over a year following his release by the Ospreys and short stints at Saracens and Toulon, leaves big question marks over his future.
The incident is the latest in a line of controversies which have dogged Henson's career. First capped as a 19-year-old in 2001, he sprang to prominence by kicking a monster penalty to help Wales beat England 11-9 at the start of the 2005 Six Nations, paving the way for a first Welsh Grand Slam in 27 years and his selection for the British & Irish Lions tour of New Zealand.
Later that year he was forced to apologise to his Wales team-mates over revelations he made in his book My Grand Slam Year, and shortly after he was banned for seven weeks for elbowing Leicester prop Alex Moreno.
Henson rediscovered his best form to be a key figure in Wales' 2008 Six Nations clean sweep, which came just a few months after an incident on a train in December 2007 that saw him charged with disorderly conduct, although the case was later dropped. But with the rugby world seemingly his for the taking, a mixture of injuries followed by a self-imposed exile from the game between March 2009 and October 2010 saw his star fade.
During that time Henson appeared in several reality TV shows, including Strictly Come Dancing and 71 Degrees North, and also went on to appear in The Bachelor. Having negotiated a release from his Ospreys contract in October 2010, Henson joined Saracens - for whom he made just four appearances - and Toulon in quick succession as he sought to win a place in Wales' squad for the 2011 World Cup.
Henson's stint in France started promisingly with a try on his debut, but the nightclub altercation saw him suspended for a week and he was not offered a contract extension at the end of the season. Despite not having a club, Henson won his first Wales cap for over two years in the defeat to the Barbarians last May and was named in coach Warren Gatland's provisional World Cup squad, only for a wrist injury suffered in the warm-up win over England to end his aspirations.
There had been glimpses of his best form in that fixture, and it was enough to convince the Blues to take a chance on the three-quarter, but that opportunity to revive his career has now been ended following the events of the weekend.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Huw Richards assesses where Wales are after a mixed Six Nations, with front row seats still very much available for the World Cup
John Mitchell lapped up the action on 'Sensational Saturday' - but warns not to expect a repeat come Rugby World Cup time later this year
Craig Dowd warns England, Ireland and Wales they should play to their strengths rather than those of the All Blacks and the Wallabies
Tom Hamilton runs the rule over just where the six countries stand ahead of the global gathering in September