Wilko looks forward to Henson link-up

Jonny Wilkinson is relishing the opportunity of linking-up with former Lions teammate Gavin Henson. [more]

Jonny Wilkinson

Jonny Wilkinson is relishing the opportunity of linking-up with former Lions teammate Gavin Henson.

The duo both toured with the Lions in 2005 and formed the midfield axis during the  second Test with New Zealand in. Now they are set to be reunited after Henson signed a short-term deal with star-studded Toulon.

The two-time Grand Slam winner could make his debut as early as Saturday, against Brive, and Wilkinson cannot wait to line-up alongside his old pal following the RBS 6Nations with England.

"Gavin's talented and it will be interesting to share the field with him again," said Wilkinson, "It's been a long time since we did that.

"I remember the first couple of games with the Lions and he was outstanding. I managed to play with him in a Test there and he's a great player without a doubt.

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"I watched what he could do in training and he's a unique player.  His long kicking game mixed with his power, aggression, performance and creativity – he's got all the skills.

"For someone like him to join us is great, we've got a guy who has everything."

Henson made the switch from Saracens after playing just four matches following his move from the Ospreys in October.

His hopes of being selected in Wales coach Warren Gatland's Six Nations squad were dashed by a calf injury and he now faces a race against time to prove himself ahead of the World Cup.

But Wilkinson who has rejuvenated his own career at Stade Felix-Mayol has backed Henson to do the same and go on to realise his World Cup dream.

"For me it's a no-brainer, I'm sure he'll love it there," said Wilkinson. "I can't impress on people enough what a change to my life Toulon's made and hopefully it will be the same for Gavin.

"It's an exciting time for him. It's a great team spirit and while supporting him massively they'll ask for a huge input.

"That's exactly what you want as a rugby player. You want to go somewhere and have the opportunity to make a difference; he has that at his feet now.

"It's good for him and if he enjoys it even half as much as I have he'll have a great time." But Wilkinson also insists the 28-year-old will have to fully embrace life in the Top 14 if he is to make a success of the move.

"Some people have gone there and not enjoyed it," added Wilkinson. "You either choose to have the whole experience and get the very best out of it or you decide to go there and hang in.

"It's obscene the level of support they are willing to give you and embracing the culture is paying that back.

"That doesn't just mean running till you drop on the weekend, it means during the week as well and when you do it's twice as enjoyable.

"It's not something where you can earn some money and just have a go, it's something you get offered you have to make the most of every second."
 

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