Henson blow for Wales

Failure to recover from an Achilles injury has ruled Gavin Henson out of the Wales World Cup squad.

The utility back’s injury has not improved sufficiently to be selected for the warm-up game against England this week. Coach Gareth Jenkins believes Henson won’t be ready for the World Cup either and so has decided to cut him loose.

“We have taken an early decision on Gavin and decided that he is no longer in contention for the Rugby World Cup squad which must be named before August 14,” Jenkins said.

“He’s had every opportunity we could have given him, but the recent Achilles injury in particular has meant he’s not been able to train at full pelt and that has reflected in his conditioning. I think we all agree he is not where he needs to be.”

Henson still has an outside chance of making the team if one of the selected players succumb to injury. He will continue his rehabilitation and will be placed on standby if and when he is fit.

“We have talked to him today and he is very understanding,” Jenkins said. “It was a tough call but a call that was necessary and one we had to make sooner rather than later for his sake as well as ours.

“He is disappointed, but I think he’s realised he’s been fighting a bit of a losing battle in the last month.”

Regular captain Stephen Jones is another who is fighting for fitness ahead of the global tournament. In his absence Ceri Sweeney will play at flyhalf against England while Gareth Thomas will assume the captaincy.

Wales – 15 Lee Byrne, 14 Aled Brew, 13 Tom Shanklin, 12 Gareth Thomas (c), 11 Dafydd James, 10 Ceri Sweeney, 9 Gareth Cooper, 8 Michael Owen, 7 Colin Charvis, 6 Alun-Wyn Jones, 5 Rob Sidoli, 4 Will James, 3 Chris Horsman, 2 Huw Bennet, 1 Iestyn Thomas.
Subs: 16 Gethin Jenkins, 17 Rhys Thomas, 18 Thomas Rhys Thomas, 19 Alix Popham, 20 Mike Phillips, 21 James Hook, 22 Tom James.