Henson back in Welsh mix
23 Feb 2009
Keo.co.za brings you the latest news from the Six Nations.
Gavin Henson has been included on the bench for Wales’ match against France.
Henson missed the first two matches due to a calf injury but finally returns to boost the Dragons bench. Shane Williams is back in the starting side while Jamie Roberts recovers from a shoulder injury to retain his spot at 12.
Coach Warren Gatland believes Williams’s return is significant in such a vital match.
“A fit Shane Willliams is a player any coach would want in their side and so it was a natural decision for him to come in for Mark Jones, with no disrespect to Mark who did a good job for us against England,” Gatland said
“France are one of the top sides in the Championship and they are always going to be tough opposition – especially at home – and this is a must-win game for them if they are to keep their title hopes alive.”
Wales - Lee Byrne; Leigh Halfpenny, Tom Shanklin, Jamie Roberts, Shane Williams; Stephen Jones, Michael Phillips; Gethin Jenkins, Matthew Rees, Adam Jones, Ian Gough, Alun Wyn Jones, Ryan Jones (c), Martyn Williams, Andy Powell.
Subs: Huw Bennett, John Yapp, Luke Charteris, Dafydd Jones, Dwayne Peel, James Hook, Gavin Henson
Jones praises big boys
Wales skipper Ryan Jones is happy his fellow forwards are finally receiving praise for their performances, following their unbeaten start to the Six Nations.
Wales’ attacking style has been applauded by most critics, with the likes of Shane Williams and Lee Byrne leading the way.
However, Wales’ much-criticised pack has also proven itself, and Jones is glad to see talk of them being soft up front is being dispelled.
“It was a myth about our pack,” said Jones. “They are finally getting the credit they richly deserve for putting in performance after performance.
“There are great individuals as well – it’s easy to credit the likes of Shane Williams and Lee Byrne, and rightly so – but they’ve got to have their share of the ball, and the pack has been relentless.”
Wales’ showcased their forward strength against England’s pack during their win in Cardiff last week, and Jones knows it will be another test on Friday in Paris.
“France will be dangerous, but we’ve got to make sure we are switched on and react as quickly as we can, while preparing for every eventuality.
“There is more to come. We’ve shown a huge improvement in our composure, we’ve talked about having a big heart and we are maturing, as well as having youngsters in key positions making good decisions.
“We’ve become a team no-one looks forward to playing against. We are creating our own aura and we are earning respect.”