Henson issues public apology
February 19, 2009
Wales centre Gavin Henson has apologised for his behaviour on a night out in Cardiff © Getty Images
Gavin Henson has issued an apology to "any member of the public that he offended" after an incident in a Cardiff bar last Sunday night.
Henson and five of his Wales team-mates were cautioned by the Wales management team over the incident just 24 hours after beating England 23-15 in their Six Nations match at the Millenium Stadium.
No.8 Andy Powell, prop Rhys Thomas and flanker Jonathan Thomas were cautioned and also offered apologies after admitting to "varying degrees of regrettable conduct" while scrum-half Mike Phillips and Lee Byrne were also questioned by Warren Gatland and team manager Alan Phillips.
"They have all been warned that their various levels of involvement in events which took place will be taken into account in future if they are party to any incidents where misconduct is apparent by any squad members," read a statement on the Welsh Rugby Union's official website, www.wru.co.uk.
"The head coach and team manager reminded all the players that their presence in the city centre exposed them to situations where their conduct was under close scrutiny and their behaviour should have reflected that."
Wales team manager Alan Phillips has spoken out after the incident, warning the players that any further transgressions will not be treated in such a lenient manner.
"Last Sunday wasn't part of going out, really," said Phillips. "We had managed things well on Saturday night as a team. We didn't stop anyone having a few beers in a controlled environment to celebrate the win, because there were two weeks to the next game.
"There was no need for anyone to be out on Sunday. We were disappointed, to say the least. We should have turned in on Wednesday, really bouncing and happy after a very good win, but this has just made life difficult for two or three days. We don't expect to see a repeat of it. The boys are intelligent enough to know that if there is a repeat of this, we won't be so charitable."
Phillips was understanding about the rigours placed on professional players but maintained that there was a time and a place for players to blow off steam. With prop Thomas, Henson and flanker Thomas all missing out on the England game through injury or a lack of form, Phillips stated that players needed to deal with disappointment in a mature manner.
"We are dealing with young people, aged between 20 and 30, and some people handle disappointments in different ways," he said. "People who are disappointed have got to be able to handle that disappointment and understand that going out and drinking alcohol is not the answer to that disappointment. The problem is twice as big the following day.
"Even professionals have a blow-out, let's not get away from it, rugby players and football players. These boys are on a treadmill for 10 or 11 months of the year, every other week they are away from home travelling, and there are a lot of demands on them. People need to have a blow-out occasionally, but there is a time and a place for it. It has got to be controlled.
"The boys were very forthcoming. They got up (in the meeting) and apologised - they were pretty frank. People have fronted up, they haven't run away or made excuses. The pressures they are under, people will slip up occasionally. When we sit back and analyse it all, there were three very frustrated blokes out there on Sunday. What they need to learn is to handle their frustration in a different way. Everyone knows the score."
Henson, who missed the England game with injury, looks set to be fit for Wales' next fixture against France in Paris next week.
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
Monday Maul takes in retirement talk, England reshuffles, France's unfair advantage and Scotland's communication breakdown
John Griffiths takes an analytical look at Week 3 of ESPN Scrum's Fantasy Rugby game - who should you have picked?