Gavin Henson is poised to end his near two-year absence from regional rugby after Cardiff Blues coach Gareth Baber hinted he would make his debut against Edinburgh.
Henson has not appeared for a region since playing for the Ospreys in March 2009 after which he took a self-imposed sabbatical from rugby which was ended by unhappy spells at English side Saracens and French outfit Toulon.
But having been out of action since injuring his wrist for Wales in the World Cup warm-up match in August against England, Baber dropped a heavy hint he will return against Edinburgh on Friday night or in the following week’s RaboDirect PRO12 derby clash with the Dragons.
“He will be in contention for the Dragons game and he is in contention for this week,” said Baber.
“He has a little niggle in his hamstring but in terms of his hand he is back to where he needs to be and he will be available going forward.
“He is a quality player and has had the time to get himself together and do his rehab properly, and hopefully when he makes his return he will be right on top of what he needs to do as I am sure there will be a lot of attention around him when he makes his debut for us.”
In his pomp, Henson is considered to have been one of Wales’ leading players in modern times playing a decisive role in the 2005 and 2008 Grand Slams.
However since those peaks Henson has made as many headlines for his off-the-field antics than he has on it with neither his spells with Saracens or Toulon ending on a happy note.
But despite gaining a reputation as troublemaker, Baber is adamant Henson has been a pleasure to deal with in his rehabilitation.
He said: “From my end, he has just been the ultimate professional. He attends meetings on time, he’s at the right places when he needs to be, wearing the right kit.
“He’s done his rehab properly. He’s in on the off days when he needs to do the rehab. He’s doing everything he possibly can to get himself back in a position to make a claim for the squad.
“You don’t exist in these environments for as long as he has and with the attention he has had on him if you are not thoroughly professional.”