Gatland says Henson’s Six Nations spot isn’t secure yet

Guinness PRO12 Editor

19 Jan 2012


Wales boss Warren Gatland insists Cardiff Blues centre Gavin Henson’s RaboDirect PRO12 form has far from secured him a guaranteed spot in the international set-up for good.

Henson’s inclusion in Wales' 35-man training squad raised more than a few eyebrows with the controversial figure having played just three times for the RaboDirect PRO12 outfit this term.

Two of those appearances came at full-back for the Blues before the 29-year-old wore his favoured No.12 jersey against London Irish recently.

Gatland has made no attempt to hide his admiration for Henson having included him in his pre-World Cup training squad despite the former Osprey having a chronic lack of match practice in 2011.

Injury ensured Gatland wasn’t forced to make a decision on taking him to New Zealand and the Kiwi is equally non-committal about his immediate Six Nations future.

“Like a number of players this is an opportunity for Gav to impress,” said Gatland. “Last time we were together before the World Cup he did well, he mixed it between filming ‘The Bachelor’ and playing a bit of rugby, but his attitude was great, he trained hard.

“I can only talk about Gavin in terms how he is in our environment and he has always been great and there have been no issues, so it’s a matter will sit down with him next week and see where his head is at.

“I think Gavin is definitely underdone at the moment.

“We had him involved before the World Cup selection and unfortunately he got injured.

“There was a long debate about whether Gavin made the squad or not and it was more or less about us wanting to have a look at him on past performances and reputation and seeing where he is at.

“This just gives us a chance when we are in Poland to have a look at him. That is why we have selected a larger squad to create some competition and have a look at some younger and more experienced players.

“He has done ok without being spectacular recently and he was unfortunate with the game that he was injured.

“Before the World Cup we thought he was looking sharp so this is an opportunity to have him in our camp and see where he is at.

“We can all look at games but the coaches can now get hands-on with Gavin, have a chat with him and see where he is physically and mentally.

“We want to look at him again in our environment.

“There is a bit of depth at centre at the moment and some good competition. Gavin also has that versatility to give us options in a few other positions.

“There are times that we need to be a little more inventive in the midfield and we recognise that so we just want to see where Gavin is.”