Friday 24 March 2017

Henson still awaiting club verdict

Ben Rumsby

Gavin Henson faces an anxious wait to discover whether his Toulon career is over after meeting club officials today to discuss his suspension for a nightclub brawl with his team-mates.

The French side are expected to announce the outcome of their disciplinary process on Friday, although there have already been reports they are set to cut their ties with the Welsh centre.

Team manager Tom Whitford said on www.bbc.co.uk: "We've had a meeting with Gavin and we'll take a bit of time to reflect before making any announcement."

Henson, who has only played twice for Toulon since his arrival in February, also faces a Welsh Rugby Union probe into his one-week suspension over an incident that took place earlier this month.

The 29-year-old was yesterday summoned to a meeting with the WRU, along with one-time Wales team-mate Andy Powell, who is currently suspended by Wasps while they investigate the circumstances of a pub brawl involving the back-rower.

The WRU said in a statement: "Following recent reported incidents, WRU Group Chief Executive Roger Lewis and Wales head coach Warren Gatland have requested meetings with Gavin Henson and Andy Powell over the course of the coming weeks.

"Until those meetings take place, there will be no further comment from the WRU."

Henson joined Toulon on a short-term contract, hoping to convince head coach Philippe Saint-Andre to give him a new two-year deal, as well as reviving his Wales career ahead of the World Cup.

The 29-year-old was initially hampered by a hamstring injury, but made a try-scoring debut against Stade Francais and made his second start in another victory over Toulouse.

But the former Ospreys man, who joined Toulon after a short spell with Saracens, now looks certain to miss out on an international return.

Henson last played for Wales in the 2009 RBS 6 Nations before a combination of personal problems and injuries prompted him to take unpaid leave from the Ospreys.

After some reality television appearances, he signed with Saracens to end an 18-month period out of the game.

What has followed since has not gone to plan and with official confirmation of his exit from Toulon still pending, Henson's next move is uncertain.

Club president Mourad Boudjellal had said previously Henson was "difficult to manage" but insisted last week the player would be granted a fair hearing.

"This week I have tried to find out what happened because I have to make a decision which is the most objective possible," Boudjellal said.

"I think I know now what happened, so I will make decisions on Monday. We are not here to back him into a corner. He is a boy who makes mistakes sometimes. He's not the only one in rugby. There are others."

He added: "You can tell that he's a great player. He's a cut above and makes me think of Sonny Bill Williams.

"They are boys who are cuts above. But sometimes they hit rock bottom."

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