The domestic season may not have even kicked off yet but Wales and Ospreys centre Gavin Henson is already looking forward to taking care of some unfinished business on next summer’s Lions tour to South Africa.
The 26-year-old played three of the provincial fixtures on the 2005 tour to New Zealand but missed out on selection for the first Test against the All Blacks in Christchurch, despite being widely expected to be one of the stars of the series following an impressive Grand Slam winning season with Wales.
Although he was in the starting line up for the second Test in Wellington, injury then ensured his tour ended in further disappointment ahead of the final Test match in Auckland a week later.
“I do have some unfinished business with the Lions and I want to put some things right after what happened in New Zealand,” said Henson.
"It was a great achievement to make the tour in 2005 but I was disappointed with the way things ended. I want to turn that around and selection for next year is driving me on.
"South Africa come to Britain in November and I’m sure the Lions selectors will be watching. I’m sure a good performance will mean something for the future.
"The Lions is the ultimate and everyone is aware this is a massive season, but you have to try to put it at the back of your mind."
The fact that next year’s tour is being led by Lions legend Ian McGeechan gives Henson even more incentive to ensure he is involved in less than 10 months’ time.
Henson’s early memories of the Lions centre around the Living with Lions video of the last visit to South Africa – a glorious tour on which McGeechan guided the tourists to a surprise series victory over the then world champions.
“Rugby came into its own with the videotape of that trip. It came out and you saw a different side of it.
“It was inspirational … it made you want to play … and I would love to be in the Lions squad next summer against the Springboks. It would be great to be part of it.”