Henson recall not an issue

Wales coach Warren Gatland says his decision to recall Gavin Henson hasn't had a negative impact on the rest of his squad. [more]

Henson recall not an issue

Wales coach Warren Gatland says his decision to recall Gavin Henson hasn’t had a negative impact on the rest of his squad.

Gatland has brought the 29-year-old centre back into the international fold for the first time in two years ahead of Saturday’s World Cup warm up against the Barbarians.

The move overshadowed all over selection issues for the Millennium Stadium clash with critics suggesting Henson hadn’t done enough to merit inclusion.

The 2005 Test Lion took an 18-month sabbatical from the sport in 2009 before deciding to leave the Ospreys to join Saracens.

Henson spent far less time than expected in London before signing a short-term contract with French big spenders Toulon. But that spell came to an end earlier this month with Henson insisting his desire to play for Wales, and not disciplinary problems, was the reason why he wouldn’t be resigning for Philippe Saint Andre’s side.

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Henson’s headline grabbing status, together with the Welsh Rugby Union’s use of his image to market the new Wales kit before his recall and a previous autobiography in which he criticised fellow Welsh players, unsurprisingly led to suggestions that his inclusion would be unsettling for the rest of the Wales squad but Gatland has been quick to dismiss those claims.

"Everyone would love to say there is some controversy about Gavin being in the squad. And [to say] some players are unsettled, but I haven't witnessed it," Gatland told BBC Wales’ Scrum V programme.

"I think they want him to settle in and play. It is about playing rugby, there are no personalities involved here.

"He has settled in well and trained hard. He seems very motivated to be part of the World Cup squad and the players seem great.

"There was a lot of criticism about picking him. If we picked him it was the headline, if we didn't pick him that would have been the headline, so we were in a no-win situation.

"The ball is in his court. We felt it was a good opportunity and we weren't taking too much of a risk calling Gavin in to see where he is at and giving him this chance to prove himself.

"He is a player that hasn't played for a few years and we felt that if he's fit and playing well, we know he is good enough – and he gets an opportunity against the Barbarians."

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