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Coach defends Blues' ill-fated night out

Cardiff Blues backs coach Gareth Baber has defended the decision to allow players, including Gavin Henson, to go out for a drink following Friday's defeat in Glasgow.

The Blues sacked Wales centre Henson on Monday after the 30-year-old was among "several" players who went out after the 31-3 loss in the RaboDirect PRO12.

Baber said: "They went out, several of them went out. But they did not take it to the excess that that individual (Henson) did. They came back to the hotel and they were fine."

While his team-mates returned to the hotel, Henson did not and continued to drink on the flight back from Scotland, with his alcohol-fuelled behaviour leading to his initial suspension by the club on Saturday evening.

Henson apologised for his "inexcusable" behaviour in a lengthy statement on Sunday, but his contract was terminated with immediate effect following a meeting of the Blues management on Monday morning, leaving his rugby career in tatters.

The Blues are preparing for this weekend's daunting Heineken Cup quarter-final clash with defending champions Leinster, and Baber explained that the players have to be trusted to relax sensibly, saying: "They are grown men and they are professionals.

"It takes a lot for players to wind down and we (Baber and forwards coach Justin Burnell) were doing the same in the hotel ourselves.

"Obviously it was a bit disappointing to be in that situation on Saturday morning but that's the way it was."

Burnell, meanwhile, praised the Blues management for the swiftness with which they dealt with the issue, and insists preparations to face Leinster have not been affected.

He said: "It has been no distraction whatsoever. The issue was dealt with quickly over the weekend and it's now about this weekend and moving forward."


From Belfast Telegraph