Tuesday, 14 June 2011

The Welsh Rugby Union should sack Gavin Henson

I've really had enough of Gavin Henson.

I've blogged time after time after time on this site of my views on his commitment, or lack of it, to the Welsh rugby jersey through his various entertainment contracts but the news this week really takes the biscuit.

Having in my mind, acted as a petulant child in his dealings with his former clubs the Ospreys and Saracens, he then showed an unprofessional side to his nature that saw Toulon terminate his French contract - all this within the space of 12 months.

He's complained that he hasn't been given a chance over the last few years to pull on the proud red jersey of Wales but in my mind, he hasn't deserved it. If his priority is to go onto Strictly Come Dancing, then good luck to him. Let him carve out a new career in entertainment and see how far that gets him. But he shouldn't think that just because he's got a wonderful natural talent and flair that he can walk straight into the Welsh dressing room ahead of other players who have shown commitment and dedication to the cause and who really know the full meaning of wearing that famous red rugby shirt.

Only a few weeks ago, he was given the opportunity to play for Wales again against the Barbarians. His was a mediocre performance and far from what we came to expect from him when he was in his prime. He was basically rusty and who can be surprised when he has had so little first match action in recent times? This lack of match practise is entirely his own doing. If he can not give 110% to his team, be it the Ospreys, Saracens or Toulon, then how in the hell should he expect to waltz back into the Welsh squad?

Henson could take an honorary degree in hubris his head must be so far up in the clouds.

Indeed, former Welsh captain Michael Owen, called the decision to select him again "embarrassing".

He said here: "It's a privilege to play for your national team. I think you've really got to earn that privilege and I just question whether Gavin has earned it in this instance".

"Warren Gatland and the coaches at Wales obviously rate Gavin very highly as a player. He's done some fantastic things throughout his career. But for me it sends the wrong message to the players in Wales who are striving, day in day out, week in week out, to try and get better and try and perform to get the opportunity to play for their country".

Too damned right Michael.

It didn't help that when lined up in readiness for the match against the Barbarians, whilst virtually the entire Welsh squad could visibly be seen singing the Welsh national anthem 'Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau', one of the few that weren't, was Henson. Does he not know the words? Does he not care to learn the words?

I'm sorry, but Welsh rugby union is the heart and soul of Welsh sport. The passion that comes from playing for Wales must be evident. Seeing the boys sing that anthem with pride is a sure sign of their commitment for the task ahead. If Henson can't be bothered to learn a few lines, then why I should I watch him play for my country?

The Bachelor
Now, it gets worse! This  BBC website article informs us that Henson is now to take the lead in a new TV dating show where he hopes to meet "the right girl". He will be 'The Bachelor' in a UK version of the hit US programme. Channel 5 said viewers should "expect flirting, bitching and heartfelt emotion" as 25 contestants compete to win his heart.

Well Channel 5, I don't know about flirting but I'll give you bitching and heartfelt emotion for free and by the bucketload.

If Henson wants to continue to posture like this, then so be it. But the WRU should have no hesitation in removing him from the preliminary World Cup squad for which he has been unbelievably selected.

The WRU say that "Gavin is fulfilling a work commitment which was in place before he was selected for national squad duty and doing so in the full knowledge of the Wales management team".

Well if that's the case, the WRU were bloody foolish to choose him in the first place if they knew of these commitments.

Until he really commits himself 110% to playing rugby, he should be nowhere near the Welsh team sheet and he should certainly not be anywhere near the preliminary World Cup squad - such places should only be reserved for those who actually show the passion, enthusiasm and commitment to play for Wales and who have that aim as their No.1 priority.

If Gavin Henson wants to go and play games, then the WRU should let him do so. He can then get on with his life and let the Welsh rugby boys get on with theirs.


  1. Well said! Rugby is a sport about determination, emotion and absolute devotion - young lads and girls would kill to play for their nation and the opportunities the WRU are giving Gavin undermine the core principles of Rugby. Give his spot to a harder working and more committed player.

  2. Maybe Gavin should retire from the sport as being a celebrity is more to his liking.

    Look what the electors of Montgomeryshire said to Lembit Opik and his celebrity antics.

  3. I agree with you both - wholeheartedly!

  4. You obviously fail to recognise his gifts. To make money outside of Rugby by using the media -a Rugby players career is short - you should at least admire is ability to keep the media interested and paying his bills, and having played so little rugby - you even took the time to write this rehashed blog with no new insight or opinion
    Which comes to his second gift - ON form he can do things other players cannot - you cannot argue with raw talent - Michael Owens is a jealous journeyman who was found out at the top level

  5. Sorry Mark I disagree, he has been a precautious talent since a young age, and the powers to be should have nurtured it accordingly, in similar aspects Bill Shankley created in the late sixties and seventies with his infamous boot camp.
    At Swansea he had a mentor, but the Ospreys and their Galactico approach to the game has since been his downfall. The England and Wales cricket board introduction of central contracts have revitalised their performance over the last eight years, this is what the WRU should have done. Why pay the regions money to squander on foreign talent, when now we are seeing our own talent move elsewhere.
    It’s quite simple if the WRU centrally contract 20 players at an average 200k a year, then its more productive to paying £6m+ to the regions, to spend as they like. The regions income support would be the remaining £2m (prorated) and the use of the players as they do know without cost, not like the cricket system where the counties tend to not have the choice!
    Injuries can be covered by our sponsor, and the WRU can negotiate a deal with Admiral to cover their costs including non contracted international players, and not benefit the prawn sandwich brigade! The contracts should be reviewed on a 6 monthly basis with a parachute system for players who fall out it with their associated regions.
    I am not against players bettering themselves in possibly higher standards of competition, especially when they have served their nation and local clubs well, but if they just had the assurances from an early stage that they could concentrate on their playing careers and then we would all reap the rewards in their natural potential (even possible a World Cup), but more importantly a better long term system for success!

  6. Mark, I must agree with you. I am an English rugby fan but I have been studying in Wales the last few years so that is my perspective.. Henson's natural ability is unquestionable, however does that not make him even more infuriating to follow? He will never be a 'great' rugby player as his attitude and ego are horrendously out of place in this relatively modest professional sport. The likes of Brian O'driscoll, Jonny Wilkinson and Chris Patterson are Great because of their attitudes, which in itself makes them 'consistently' outstanding.. I can only imagine how frustrating it is for the likes of Jonathon Davies, Andrew Bishop, Jamie Roberts and Scott Williams who do work twice as hard for, in some cases, even half a chance at the Wales team. On top of this, with Hook an option as well, it is in the centres which Wales have their most strength in depth.
    I think it is a real shame that Henson is considered and to a foreigner it does look a little embarrasing or even it seems that Gatland seems to have lost a bit of dignity in his selection, it appears as though he does not trust the very good players that he has.. Unfortunately for us [England rugby] we can see a remarkable talent of our own (a certain Mr. Cipriani) going down the exact same route as Henson. It is a great shame but it would appear that a career in football would have suited them better!