Belfast Telegraph

Monday 29 December 2014

Henson return would please Saracens

Gavin Henson
Gavin Henson

Wales assistant coach Neil Jenkins has welcomed the prospect of Gavin Henson making his return to rugby.

Aviva Premiership club Saracens could complete a deal by the end of this week that would see the 28-year-old, who has not played for 19 months, linking up with them from Welsh region Ospreys.

Jenkins said: "Gav is a fantastic player, and if he's getting back involved in the game, good luck to him. We want our best players playing, and Gav is certainly one of those. "

If the move is rubber-stamped, centre Henson's arrival at Vicarage Road would also give Saracens additional cover in the fly-half position after their South African number 10 Derick Hougaard suffered a season-ending Achilles injury during the Heineken Cup clash against Leinster earlier this month.

Saracens still need to reach an agreement with Ospreys, who are likely to want compensation for any Henson move, given that he is under contract with them until next May.

The player's ambition of featuring in Wales' World Cup squad next autumn, however, will be tough for him to achieve, given his prolonged absence from the game.

And Wales coach Warren Gatland's squad for Tests against Australia, South Africa, Fiji and New Zealand next month does not include any players currently plying their trade in England, with Sale Sharks scrum-half Dwayne Peel and Wasps number eight Andy Powell among those who missed out.

"It is not easy when you are not playing in Wales," added Jenkins. "If he does sign for Saracens - and I haven't got a clue what he will do - I am sure he will be under a similar contract to all the other boys, so it won't be easy for him to turn up (with Wales)."

Saracens chief executive Edward Griffiths said on Monday there were some "outstanding issues" to resolve with the Ospreys, who have yet to comment on the possibility of Henson leaving Wales for Watford. He is also currently appearing on the BBC's Strictly Come Dancing series, a commitment that could last until Christmas.

Henson has won 31 caps for Wales and also toured New Zealand with the 2005 British and Irish Lions, featuring in one Test. He last played international rugby in March 2009, and the final game of Wales' RBS 6 Nations campaign against Ireland in Cardiff.

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