Ruddock wants appeal over Henson

Wales head coach Mike Ruddock has urged the Ospreys management to strongly consider appealing against Gavin Henson's 10-week suspension. [more]

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Wales head coach Mike Ruddock has urged the Ospreys management to strongly consider appealing against Gavin Henson’s 10-week suspension.

British & Irish Lion Henson will miss the first three games of Wales’ Six Nations defence after being found guilty of elbowing Leicester prop Alejandro Moreno in the Tigers’ European Cup victory on December 18.

Ruddock agreed Henson had a case to answer after Moreno was left with a broken nose, but he believes the suspension was harsh.

"I will be interested to see whether the Ospreys appeal the citing decision. I think they should certainly consider it very strongly," said Ruddock.

"I have looked at it a few times and I can’t condone foul play. No doubt Gavin has case to answer, but I am not sure if the length of ban is spot-on.

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"I’ll leave the Ospreys to judge that as they listened to the evidence that was given for an against in the hearing. They are best placed to lodge an appeal, but my advice would be to consider it very strongly.

"I have noted that for use of the elbow there have been two or three different sentences.

"The South African hooker John Smit had a ban that was shorter and the French captain Fabien Pelous used an elbow and his sentence was shorter. That is something that needs to be considered."

Smit received a six-week ban for striking Jerome Thion during the Springboks’ 26-20 defeat to France in November. Thion was left with a fractured larynx.

Pelous received a nine-week suspension after being found guilty of elbowing Australia hooker Brendan Cannon in France’s 26-16 win over the Wallabies.

Ruddock was rewarded for leading Wales to their first Grand Slam in 27 years with an OBE in the New Year’s Honours List.

He expects the 2006 championship to be a much tougher proposition without the likes of Henson and injured trio Brent Cockbain, Ryan Jones and Kevin Morgan.

But Ruddock is confident Wales can mount a successful defence of their title.

"It’s been a hell of a year. We won nine of our 11 Test matches in 2005. I am pleased personally (to receive the OBE) but it is more about the team.

"It reflects the success of the team last season and the fact we brought the Grand Slam to Wales after 27 years," Ruddock told Sportsweek on BBC Radio 5 Live.

"It will be more difficult this year – we have lost key players and everyone else knows what to expect of us now.

"But we believe if we get our gameplan right and get the quality ball we need to play the game we want, we will take a bit of holding."

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