Henson set for debut

2005 Lion Gavin Henson is set to make his long-awaited Toulon debut against Castres Olympique on Friday. [more]

Henson set for debut

2005 Lion Gavin Henson is set to make his long-awaited Toulon debut against Castres Olympique on Friday.

The two-time Grand Slam winner joined the French big-spenders on a fourth month contract in January, targetting a place in Warren Gatland's World Cup squad.

But he has been plagued by the ankle injury he suffered playing for Saracens in the Heineken Cup in January.

Henson quit the Watford-based club for the south of France weeks later but has been stuck on the sidelines at Stade Felix-Mayol with the niggling injury since.

But he returned to contact training last week and is take his bow in the Top 14 in three day's time.

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With the World Cup looming on the horizon just five months away, Henson is desperate to show Gatland he still has what it takes to pull on the Welsh jersey.

Toulon have just five matches left this season in which the former British & Irish Lion can stake a claim for a first ever World Cup.

But Toulon head coach Philippe Saint-Andre reckons Henson is more than capable of playing in the showpiece tournament if he can stay injury free.

"He had a bad injury when he was with Sarries so he couldn't train until the last 12 days," said Saint-Andre.

"If he plays, exceptionally for Toulon in our last few games he can make the World Cup because he's a talented player, after all.

"He's not had too much game time in the last two years so he needs to play. He was injured for the last two months.

"He's serious, he's very professional and he's training very hard. He just needs to be free of injury to be on the pitch and that is the important thing for him."

After starring for Wales as they marched to the Grand Slam in 2005, Henson was selected for the Lions tour of New Zealand.

During the tour Henson made four appearances, including the second Test, and scored two tries.
 

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