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Henson poster 'laughable'

Wales players past and present have criticised the choice of absent star Gavin Henson as poster boy for the new national team kit.

Henson's image appeared on a 100-foot banner unveiled at the Millennium Stadium on Wednesday. He was not there in person, remaining out of rugby in a self-imposed exile that began 18 months ago when he suffered his latest injury setback.

He is on unpaid leave from his regional side the Ospreys, has not played for Wales since March last year and will shortly be part of the BBC's new Strictly Come Dancing series.

Henson's fellow Wales centre Jamie Roberts was among those seemingly baffled by the Welsh Rugby Union's choice of Henson to promote the kit, telling the Western Mail: "Without saying anything too controversial, it's an interesting choice to say the least.

"Obviously, his profile is sky-high at the moment with his dancing thing, and the Union have decided to use that. Whether Gavin Henson returns to rugby remains to be seen.

"Whatever he decides, Welsh rugby is not just about him. It's about the team and individuals working hard within that team."

Former Wales captains Gareth Edwards and Mervyn Davies rounded on the WRU's decision.

Edwards said: "I would say it was a misjudgement. I could understand why the players might be upset because they are working hard every day and Gavin hasn't played for 18 months.

"I can understand why companies want to use their biggest marketing tool, and Henson might still be the biggest name in Welsh rugby, but he is not part of the squad so I cannot understand why they would want to promote him."

And Davies added: "This is absolutely totally laughable. It is a bizarre choice - it really is a comedy show."

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