Gift of Gav encourages Jenkins

Wales coach Gareth Jenkins hailed Gavin Henson's reappearance at international level as a "positive" element of his side's last-ditch 29-23 defeat to Australia in Sydney. [more]

Lions Australia Tour 2013

Wales coach Gareth Jenkins hailed Gavin Henson’s reappearance at international level as a "positive" element of his side’s last-ditch 29-23 defeat to Australia in Sydney.

Henson had 21 minutes of action after being out with a knee ligament strain since January, six of them as a first-half blood replacement for try-scoring skipper Gareth Thomas and the rest as he took over from Wales’ other try-scorer, Jamie Robinson, for the last 15 frenetic minutes.

Jenkins said: "Gav did well when he came on. It was always the case that we brought him on the tour to give him an opportunity if the situation was right.

"It was right to bring him on in the second-half and he proved to all of us he’s still skilled and has an an appetite for the game and was a positive, really, in that last 30 minutes."

Henson will now be considered for a more significant role for the second Test in Brisbane and Jenkins expects Australian-born second row forward Brent Cockbain to be available for selection as they seek to level Test series.

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Cockbain left the fray following a blow to his head after 35 minutes to be replaced by fellow British and Irish Lion Michael Owen and while groggy at the time, the Ospreys star was diagnosed as not having suffered concussion.

That should leave 6ft 8in, 18st 5lb Cockbain free to return to action in what he regards as his home state of Queensland, where he grew up after being born in New South Wales.

If Cockbain does not make it in time for Wales’ scheduled Wednesday team announcement, Jenkins will be forced into a rethink.

He could opt to ask Owen to continue where he left off in Sydney, seek to discover if Cardiff Blues’ forward Scott Morgan can rise to the challenge of Test rugby having been named as a utility forward for the tour or give Jonathan Thomas an opportunity to underline his versatility.

The Wallabies have no such concerns with coach John Connolly declaring: "We’ve got the usual bumps and bruises, but nothing serious."

Connolly says he will make two or three changes to the starting line-up and may be tempted to reunite George Gregan and Stephen Larkham at half-back if the latter is passed fit following hamstring trouble.

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