Henson targets Lions tour

Gavin Henson is desperate to become a Lion for a second time. [more]

Henson targets Lions tour

Gavin Henson is desperate to become a Lion for a second time.

The 29-year-old Welshman has set his sights on making the 2013 tour to Australia after beginning a new chapter in his controversial career with Cardiff Blues.

Henson, who represented Britain and Ireland’s elite six years ago, missed the last Lions adventure after taking a 19-month sabbatical that begun in the spring of 2009 following a series of injury setbacks.

The double Grand Slam winner returned to action with Saracens in late 2010 before moving on to French side Toulon in February of this year. His stay in France was a brief one, however, after he was released from his contract amid the fall out from a controversial night out which involved an alleged fight with a team-mate.

Henson made his first international appearance in two years this June but a wrist injury then prevented him from pushing for a place in his first World Cup squad.

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But having signed an eight-month deal with the Blues, Henson insists he has rediscovered his hunger for the game and that he is already aiming to pull on the famous red jersey against the Wallabies the summer after next.

"I have long term goals to make the next Lions tour," said Henson, who played four games for the 2005 Lions, including the second Test against the All Blacks.

"I'd also like to think I can make that next World Cup. It eats away at me that I haven't been to one yet but I have a lot to do in the meantime.

"My hunger is bigger than ever. That’s exciting for me, I didn’t have those feelings until I took that time out. Running out for games and not feeling anything wasn’t nice. But those feelings have come back and the love for the game is there.

"I want to prove to myself that I can play week-in week-out rugby. I haven’t done that for so long and had those doubts. There’s a lot of people I want to prove myself to.

"I can understand why people talk about last chance saloons. I'm nearly 30 and I've taken a lot of time out of the game so there are huge question marks.

"I do have a high opinion of myself as a rugby player and I think all sports people have to have that confidence. For me it’s about trying to play weekly."

Henson moved to the Blues despite being linked with a host of other clubs in Wales, England and France but he refused to hide his disappointment about being denied a return to the Ospreys.

The centre cum fly-half played all his rugby with the region or with Swansea prior to 2010 and he had hoped to rejoin the Liberty Stadium side at some point in his career.

That now looks unlikely and Henson admits it has been a hard realization to come to terms with.

"I'm a bit disappointed not to be back at the Ospreys but that wasn't meant to be," added Henson.

"I think everyone has seen what (Ospreys director of coaching) Scott Johnson said on TV. It is disappointing but that is the way it goes.

"I had a good 10 years down there but it is a new start again for me at the Blues. I need to repay them on the field.

"I suppose it does feel a bit strange being in the blue of Cardiff but I am just grateful for the opportunity they have given me to stay in Wales and play at this high level.

"This is going to be my last club and I could play for a long time. I certainly hope I finish my career here at the Blues."

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