Fellow 2005 tourists Tom Shanklin and Dwayne Peel are among the replacements, with Peel earning a late call up to the training squad following injury to Gareth Cooper and Shanklin missing out on a centre spot to Henson and Jamie Roberts.
The impressive Lee Byrne starts at full back, with teenage wing Leigh Halfpenny handed his Six Nations debut.
James Hook misses out to Stephen Jones at fly-half, with Mike Phillips returning to the international set up in the No9 shirt after a lengthy absence through injury.
Gatland, who led Wales to Grand Slam glory in 2008 and will act as forwards coach on the Lions' summer tour of South Africa, has named the same forward pack that started the win over Australia in Wales' last international outing.
"We had close calls to make throughout the squad and selection is always down to a matter of opinion - now we wait and see if those players selected can prove those opinions correct," said Gatland, who enters his second Six Nations campaign as Wales coach.
"We have tried to select on form and are particularly keen to get a look at the partnership in midfield of Gavin Henson and Jamie Roberts which we have been able to select for the first time."
Lee Byrne (Ospreys); Leigh Halfpenny (Blues), Jamie Roberts (Blues), Gavin Henson (Ospreys), Shane Williams (Ospreys); Stephen Jones (Scarlets), Mike Phillips (Ospreys); Gethin Jenkins (Blues), Matthew Rees (Scarlets), Adam Jones (Ospreys), Ian Gough (Ospreys), Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys), Ryan Jones (Ospreys, captain), Martyn Williams (Blues), Andy Powell (Blues)
Replacements: Huw Bennett (Ospreys), John Yapp (Blues), Luke Charteris (Dragons), Dafydd Jones (Scarlets), Dwayne Peel (Sale), James Hook (Ospreys), Tom Shanklin (Blues)