Former Ospreys coach Lyn Jones has become the latest high-profile figure to cast doubts on whether or not 2005 British & Irish Lion Gavin Henson will ever play again.
Double Grand Slam centre Henson has been granted ‘indefinite leave’ by the Welsh region to try to overcome his injury woes. While his team mates were wrapping up their pre-season with a win at Gloucester at the weekend, Henson was at his son Dexter’s christening.
Henson helped Jones’ Ospreys side win two Magners League titles, but now his former boss believes the game may have seen the last of one of its brightest, yet unfulfilled, talents.
Speaking to the BBC, Jones said: “It wouldn’t be a surprise if he never plays again. I’d like to think he’ll put the boots on again and perform at the highest level because it’s always disappointing to hear that a player is taking a break from the game.
“When I first met Gavin in 2003 rugby was first, second and third priority in his life and he was desperately keen to play every single game.
“Not only was he keen to play, he was by far the most influential rugby player in Britain. I think he’s got a future in the game.
“He’s an important player for the Ospreys and Wales because he’s got an amazing talent – he can turn games on his own.”
Jones believes the Ospreys have done the right thing by not pressurising Henson into returning to action until he feels 100 per cent. He also believes that pressures outside of the game have contributed to his current state of health and mind.
“He has been a different player since 2005 and other things have come up in his life and he has to deal with them,” said Jones.
“It has been a tough time for Gavin over the last four years and it is important that the Ospreys give him time to think about what he wants to do next. He has had a few serious injuries, not least the one he suffered against Gloucester at the end of last season.
“Injuries and fighting their way back to fitness is the hardest thing a player has to deal with. I hope he raises enough interest to come back. Rugby needs him – the Ospreys certainly need him.”