Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 28 December 2014

Henson hungry for rugby again

Gavin Henson
Gavin Henson

Gavin Henson cut through the glitz and glamour of his television career to insist, most of all, he wants to be a rugby star again.

Henson reached the semi-final of the BBC's 'Strictly Come Dancing' and also starred in the reality TV show 71 Degrees North since he last played a rugby match 21 months ago. But on Sunday the former Ospreys star will take the field for new club Saracens against Wasps at Wembley in the Aviva Premiership.

Henson said: "I think those two TV programmes were good for me. But the goal now is to be taken seriously as a rugby player. I want to get back to the top of the game, play really well and win honours in rugby again. I have missed that and playing for my country. I would like to think I can play better than I did before."

The 28-year-old quit rugby in March 2009 after a career overshadowed by injuries and controversy. Since then he has also broken up with his former fiancee, singer Charlotte Church, with whom he has two children Ruby and Dexter, and moved from Wales to London.

But Henson, who won two Six Nations Grand Slams with Wales in 2005 and 2008, maintains he is back in love with rugby.

He will start probably on the bench on Sunday but expects to be used initially as an outside centre, although fly-half is also a possibility.

And he has set his sights on winning his 32nd cap for Wales when the Six Nations starts in February by which time he will have turned 29, although he claims he has had no contact from the Welsh coaching camp.

"I am in a better place at the moment," he said. "I am much more positive thinking about the game and I'm going to enjoy it a lot more than the last couple of years of my career.

"The body feels great. I can sprint again. I haven't been able to sprint properly since 2004, maybe 2005. That feels good in training.

"Hopefully it has been a good decision to take time out of rugby. I was struggling with injuries and playing with injuries. That was getting me down. I feel refreshed mentally and physically. I'm hoping that will give me an edge and the adrenaline side of stuff will get me through the games."

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