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Gavin Henson heading to Toulon after shock exit from Saracens

Saracens have cleared the way for Gavin Henson to complete a move to Toulon after releasing the Wales centre from his contract.

Reports had suggested that the 29-year-old was set to make a move to the Top 14 club on a short-term deal until the end of the season.

Henson had signed for Saracens until the end of the current campaign in October, but a club statement last night read: “Gavin Henson has asked to be released from his contract with immediate effect. The club has agreed to his request.”

Chairman Nigel Wray added: “We wish Gavin all the best for the future as he continues his return to the highest level of the game.”

French sports newspaper L'Equipe has reported that Henson met Toulon head coach Phillipe Saint Andre and millionaire club owner Mourad Boudjellal, the millionaire comic-book publisher, for lunch in Toulon yesterday.

Glamour boy Henson missed out on a place in the Wales Six Nations squad because he sustained a calf injury in their Heineken Cup game at Leinster last month.

His countrymen will take on an England side tomorrow night which will see Northampton flanker Tom Wood making his debut.

The 24-year-old will start on the blindside at the Millennium Stadium with James Haskell to make his first Test appearance at openside after injuries forced England to reshuffle their pack.

Lewis Moody and Tom Croft are both missing while Northampton lock Courtney Lawes is in danger of being sidelined for the whole championship with a knee injury.

Louis Deacon has filled the second-row vacancy and Mike Tindall will captain England for the first time in Moody's absence.

England boss Martin Johnson said: “He has impressed everyone with his demeanour and his manner. He came in and without saying it just showed ‘I'm not here to make the numbers up, I'm here to have a crack',” he said.

“He's been nothing less than impressive.”

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