Henson lauds Lions ‘experience’

Gavin Henson has insisted that life with Sir Clive Woodward's Lions had been "a really good experience". [more]

Lions Australia Tour 2013

Gavin Henson has insisted that life with Sir Clive Woodward’s Lions had been "a really good experience".

And Henson admitted he cannot wait to tackle the All Blacks again when New Zealand launch their British and Irish tour against Six Nations champions Wales in Cardiff on November 5.

Wales centre Henson was left out by Woodward for the first Test in Christchurch earlier this summer, but England’s World Cup-winning coach saw his selection policy backfire as New Zealand triumphed 21-3.

A shoulder injury then restricted Henson to just one Test appearance – the 48-18 Wellington defeat when Woodward made mass changes – as the Lions suffered a 3-0 series whitewash.

But despite finding himself regularly in the public eye during six weeks Down Under, Henson believes the tour was hugely beneficial to his rugby development.

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"I felt I learned a lot from the Lions – it was a really good experience," he said.

"When you spend time with these other guys, train with them and eat with them day in, day out, it takes the aura away from them and gives your confidence a lift.

"They are built up to be world-class players, which they are, and you wonder if you are as good as them or still quite a way off, but when you are with them training, you realise that you are up there with them.

"I learned a lot from working with Jonny Wilkinson and Dave Alred on the kicking side of my game, especially their attitudes towards it and the sheer work-rate.

"I always thought I put an obscene number of hours into kicking practice, but when you work with Wilkinson and Alred, it’s just another level again.

"I can’t wait for the new season now, especially given the Six Nations we had with Wales last season, because it has given us the confidence to go out and play against the other home countries and realise we are up there with them."

And as for that eagerly-awaited appointment with the All Blacks in just three months’ time, he said: "We did really well against the All Blacks in Cardiff last year, and I felt we should have won that game.

"This Welsh team has loads of confidence, especially after the Six Nations we had last season."

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