Henson: I need something special
Wales star Gavin Henson has delivered a brutally honest assessment of his World Cup chances, claiming: "I need to do something pretty special."
The race for World Cup places gathers pace this weekend when England arrive in Cardiff for Wales' penultimate Test match ahead of their departure to New Zealand. Wales coach Warren Gatland will name his 30-man squad in just under a fortnight's time, and Henson accepts the clock is ticking.
"There is huge competition for places, and I just hope I get a chance in one of these games," said Henson. "There are definitely three centres there at the moment, so I need to do something pretty special if I get the chance."
Jamie Roberts and Jonathan Davies appear to be installed as Gatland's premier midfield pairing, while Scarlets youngster Scott Williams has impressed greatly in training and when he featured as a replacement at Twickenham three days ago.
Henson is expected to be handed a chance at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday in what would be only his second Wales appearance since March 2009. And having never played in a World Cup - he was overlooked eight years ago, and then ruled out by injury ahead of the 2007 tournament in France - the 29-year-old former Ospreys, Saracens and Toulon centre knows what is at stake.
After the return fixture against England, Wales host Argentina on August 20 before Gatland unveils his Wellington-bound party just 48 hours later.
Henson added: "It is about taking your chance and trying to get involved in this World Cup. I've never been to one, so it's huge for me. It would probably be one of the biggest achievements of my rugby career if I manage to do it. I missed out on the last two, and that still hurts."
Henson played a full part during Wales' punishing training camps at the Olympic sports village in Spala, Poland last month and there are no issues whatsoever with his fitness, despite minimal game time this year.
After numerous injury setbacks that prompted a long self-imposed exile from rugby which only ended last Christmas, the double Six Nations Grand Slam winner is ready to state his World Cup case.
"I've had quite a bit of time out - I haven't managed to have too many games under my belt - but the body is feeling good," added Henson, who started Wales' defeat to the Barbarians in early June. "I really have missed it, being involved with Wales."