Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 28 August 2014

Henson hungry again after break

Gavin Henson

Gavin Henson believes his long self-imposed exile from rugby was "definitely the right decision".

Henson will return to the Test match arena on Saturday, winning his 32nd cap when Wales host Millennium Stadium opponents the Barbarians. He has not played for Wales since the 2009 RBS 6 Nations Championship, while his club rugby this season was limited to brief stints with Saracens and Toulon.

Henson said: "For me, it (exile) was definitely the right decision. I feel much better for it. I just couldn't carry on, mentally, the way I was before. I have got my hunger and drive back, and you need that in rugby. You can't play without it. I think Saturday is going to feel like a first cap for me."

He added: "Having had two years out of the game, there were times when I thought I would never put the Wales jersey back on, or a rugby jersey at all, so Saturday will be a good feeling. It is massive for me - it all boils down to this one game at the moment."

Despite not being offered a new contract by wealthy French club Toulon, who also suspended him following an altercation with a team-mate after he helped them beat Toulouse in April, Henson is thinking only about Wales following his recall by coach Warren Gatland.

"It's great to be back," he added. "I am over the moon to get this chance - I have really missed it. I feel mentally refreshed. Yes, I would love to come into this match on the back of 20 games under my belt or something, but that's not the case.

"But I have got a chance here, and I will do everything I can on Saturday to hopefully force my way into these August internationals (Wales play England twice and Argentina), and then looking forward to the World Cup.

"At this moment in time, Wales is the most important thing for me. I have never been to a World Cup, and this is my only chance to try to make it right. I want to do everything I can. The World Cup is the biggest stage, and it is something I have missed out on twice. It is a huge driving factor in me - I really want to be on that plane.

Henson will line up at inside centre in a Wales team that includes two Test debutants - prop Ryan Bevington and number eight Toby Faletau - while Cardiff Blues flanker Sam Warburton captains his country for the first time.

Warburton will go head-to-head with Barbarians openside, the 98 times-capped Wales and Blues flanker Martyn Williams, and the Baa-Baas pack also includes another Wales Test player in Scarlets prop Iestyn Thomas.

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