Wilko lifts lid on Henson

Two-time Lion Jonny Wilkinson has spoken out over the incident that saw 2005 Lions tourist Gavin Henson suspended and then reinstated by Toulon. [more]

Jonny Wilkinson

Two-time Lion Jonny Wilkinson has spoken out over the incident that saw 2005 Lions tourist Gavin Henson suspended and then reinstated by Toulon.

Henson was allegedly involved in an altercation with team-mates following the Top 14 victory over Toulouse almost two weeks ago. There had been claims that Henson had been critical of Wilkinson and club captain Joe van Niekerk.

But Wilkinson has revealed the main perpetrator was drink and that all had been forgiven in the Toulon camp.

"The perpetrator in it was drink I guess," said Wilkinson to the Telegraph.

"Gavin said to the players that wasn’t the true Gavin speaking. He showed his true views to us and said that he was sorry.

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"It was a difficult evening. I wasn’t even there, so it’s best to set the record straight on that.

“I had been talking to Gavin that afternoon after the match against Toulouse, telling him that I admired the way he had got back up to this level so quickly after so much time out of the game.

"It hasn’t affected me whatsoever. I’ve spent good times with Gavin here, enjoyed training with him.

"As for the remarks, well, then he wouldn’t be the only person thinking like that round the world, and rightly so. I’ve always said that I get too many plaudits."

Wilkinson insists the entire Toulon squad want to leave the incident behind them and that there will be no hard feelings towards Henson.

"These sort of things happen, whether the chemistry goes a bit wrong briefly or there’s a misunderstanding or whatever," added Wilkinson.

"This is a squad of many types of nationalities and characters. That’s what makes it special.

“And team spirit is so crucial to having success. You can’t just go out and get the best players in the world, stick them in a changing room with a few notes and a rugby ball, then expect them to go out and it will instantly click.

"There has to be a chemistry, a spirit, especially I think in French rugby, if it’s to work and it does here at Toulon.

"The players will be fine with Gavin. They will do whatever they can to help him get what he needs and what he deserves out of this.

"He is definitely keen to do likewise for Toulon. I personally have never been more at home among a group of players and in that regard that is how they will be with Gavin.

"Everyone understands that this is part of the search for that team spirit and togetherness."

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