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Attitude key for Howley

Rob Howley believes attitude will be a key ingredient for Wales in Saturday's clash against the Barbarians.

The Millennium Stadium is likely to be less than half-full for Wales' last fixture until their trio of World Cup warm-up games against England (twice) and Argentina in August.

And the home side will also be without players like Lee Byrne, Shane Williams, Jamie Roberts, James Hook, Matthew Rees and Adam Jones against opponents buoyed by beating a shadow England side at Twickenham four days ago. "It's a game that is important, and it's a Test match," said Wales assistant coach Howley.

The game, though, will be notable for Wales fly-half Stephen Jones winning his 100th cap and Gavin Henson's anticipated international return more than two years after he last played Test rugby.

He added: Our attitude is going to be the most important element on Saturday afternoon. The one thing you don't have as a Baa-baas player is the fear of losing. You just turn up and play, with a never-say-die attitude. I was not surprised by their performance against England, and the longer you are on tour the better you get. I am sure they will have a very strong side out on the weekend."

Henson will learn later on Wednesday whether he starts against the Baa-baas, or provides bench cover for a possible all-Scarlets midfield pairing of Jonathan Davies and rookie Scott Williams.

Henson, who returned from a long self-imposed rugby exile earlier this year through brief stints with Saracens and then Toulon, is back on Wales squad duty, albeit without a club after he was recently released by the wealthy French outfit.

"I think it's easy to criticise the fact Gavin hasn't played," added Howley. "Gavin has been there and done it with what he has achieved in the game, the (Wales) Grand Slams in 2005 and 2008.

"He has been a player who has been highly influential in the game when he has played. I think Gavin deserves a chance, that is my personal opinion. What he is able to do is he has got a natural talent in creating space, not only for himself, but for the back three and opportunities outside him.

"It's giving Gavin the chance of making his name on the rugby field. It's down to Gavin now. He might be starting, he might be on the bench, but if he comes on then hopefully it is a positive influence that he has. He has trained well over the last four or five days, and it's just transferring that now on to the field."


From Belfast Telegraph