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'It came at a cost to me personally' - Henson hints at Jackman training methods as factor in disappointing career end

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Bernard Jackman left his role as Dragons head coach in December 2018. Photo by Chris Fairweather/Sportsfile

Bernard Jackman left his role as Dragons head coach in December 2018. Photo by Chris Fairweather/Sportsfile

SPORTSFILE

Bernard Jackman left his role as Dragons head coach in December 2018. Photo by Chris Fairweather/Sportsfile

Ex-Wales international Gavin Henson has criticised the training methods of his former coach at the Dragons, Bernard Jackman.

The former Ireland hooker was in charge at the Newport-based club during the 2017/18 season which coincided with Henson’s arrival at Rodney Parade on a two-year deal.

However, a string of injuries and Jackman's selection policy restricted the fly-half to 18 appearances before he announced his retirement in May 2019.

Speaking in an interview with Wales Online, the 38-year-old pointed to the work-load set by the current Bective Rangers head-coach as a factor in the disappointing manner his swan-song played out.

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Ex-Dragon Gavin Henson during a pre-season friendly match at Kingsholm Stadium, Gloucester. Photo credit: David Davies/PA Wire.

Ex-Dragon Gavin Henson during a pre-season friendly match at Kingsholm Stadium, Gloucester. Photo credit: David Davies/PA Wire.

Ex-Dragon Gavin Henson during a pre-season friendly match at Kingsholm Stadium, Gloucester. Photo credit: David Davies/PA Wire.

"The Dragons wasn't great and it wasn’t how I saw my career ending,” Henson said.

“Obviously I came in at a difficult time when Bernard (Jackman) was trying to turn the place around. He had his ideas but it didn’t quite work.

"We were all over-trained. It would have been nice to finish off with some really good rugby.

"We were going into the games so exhausted, it was tough. We’d have about 40 minutes in us and that was it. He was always saying we weren’t fit enough but if you’re going to do fitness the day before a game, there’s nothing left in the tank.

"I can understand what he was doing. He was just trying to find out who the weak ones were and wanted to get rid of a lot of dead wood but it came at a cost. It came at a cost to me personally with the way I performed."

Henson also spoke about how he felt he hadn’t lived up to the potential shown in his early career and that he believes the game needs to take more care around individual players.

"I can always look at myself in the third person and go ‘F*** yeh, I didn’t reach my potential'," he admitted.

"I had all the skills but it’s tough. There’s a lot of off the field things you have to deal with. It hasn’t been easy for me.

"I had some bad injuries and some bad times and they’re tough to get over.

"They just treat the boys as pieces of meat, you know. 'If you’re going to break down then we’ll just pull the other guy in'."

Online Editors