Oval Talk

Henson: The right kind of gamble?

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It started out as a rumour almost a fortnight ago, one which London Welsh initially denied, but it has now materialised into head coach Lyn Jones stating his desire to bring Gavin Henson to the club.

London Welsh have been the subject of a couple of Oval Talk blog entries in recent weeks, as their bid to attain Premiership status has gone through a drawn-out appeals process before finally being approved. It is their newfound top flight status which brings them to the current situation in which they are now considering handing Henson a career lifeline.

The move appears to make perfect sense - in theory - for both club and player in that it offers Henson the opportunity to get his rugby career back on track, while giving Welsh an experienced international with undoubted and proven talent. It is a move which, should it go through, would split opinion.

"He used to be a very good rugby player and I'm sure that if he has the appetite he could be a very good one again. If we could do a deal, if he was still available, it would be great," is how Jones explained the potential move. His words sum up the situation perfectly.

"He used to be a very good rugby player". This is a player who has played a handful of games for three different clubs in the past two years, after taking a sabbatical prior to that.

"I'm sure that if he has the appetite he could be a very good one again". Appetite. The fact that Henson has flitted from club to club, and the nature of his exit from Cardiff Blues back in April, cast serious doubt on whether he has what is required to be a reliable and consistent addition to any squad.

It would be a gamble of sorts for Welsh to employ Henson, but there could be little doubt that any deal they offered him would involve a clause minimising any risk on their part.

Newly promoted and looking for a player with unquestionable big-game experience such as that possessed by Henson, few would begrudge Welsh exercising their right and ability to acquire his talents in their attempt to consolidate their rise to the top level. The real question however is whether Henson has the desire to throw it all in and work as hard as possible to make such a move work.