A player who has had so many controversial on and off the field headlines written about him, many people doubted his move to Bath Rugby at the start of last season. Now he's completed his first season and played in Bath's first preseason fixture against Scarlets, has Gavin Henson proved the doubters wrong?
Love him or hate him, he is definitely rugby's equivalent to Marmite, there's no mistaking Gavin Henson is a very gifted and talented player. His career has been a very bumpy little affair, with so much off the field antics and publicity overshadowing his playing ability. Henson's international career was blighted by injury and so far cutting it short to 33 caps for Wales and one Lions cap, although that's not bad figures for an international there should of been so many more, some people may say the timing of injuries aided the slump in his behaviour and career?
His nine year stint at Swansea/Ospreys saw him deliver some glittering rugby, although his "pretty boy" image somewhat overshadowed what a huge talent he was. He suffered yet another injury and this time Henson took an 18 month sabbatical. During this time there was many rumours involving his career, retirement, changing codes to rugby league and also many stories involving his personal life, eventually it led to Ospreys releasing him from his contract.
It wasn't long before he had signed for Saracens but could only start playing for them once his time was up on Strictly come dancing, an uncertain period followed!
Saracens- 4 caps- released from contract.
Toulon- 2 caps- released from contract due to fighting with team mates.
Cardiff Blues- 8 caps- released from contract due to drunken behaviour on an airplane.
London Welsh- 7 caps- left to join Bath after London Welsh's relegation.
His move to Bath was very well publicised and a lot of fans were uncertain it was a good move for the club, Bath have had some bad times with publicity over the years and could do without the Henson press train coming to Bath, other clubs and supporters even mocked his move to Bath.
The start to his career at Bath didn't exactly go to plan, as before he had even graced the field at the Rec he was all over the papers for all the wrong reason once again. A night out with his new team-mates ended up with him taking a little nap on the floor of the Pig and Fiddle in Bath after an altercation with Carl Fearns who delivered a little "love tap" to Henson.
Since the incident he has buried his head and just got on with what he should be known for.....rugby! There has been a few shaky performances but there is with any player, he has also shown some glimpses of the player everyone knows he can be. He also received a call up to play in the possibles vs probable's game for Wales, fully deserved although I feel it was Warren Gatland using him a publicity tool. Gatland knew due to Premiership rules that at that time he wouldn't be allowed to play in the game unless Bath released him for the fixture and incurred a hefty fine, Gatland's way of highlighting what players lose for not playing in Wales!
The gamble to sign Henson has so far payed off, for him and for the club, and this coming season I truly feel we will see some stunning and solid performances from him. George Ford will be away for large parts of the season with England and Henson is the automatic choice to fill in at Fly Half.
To answer the question- has Henson proved his doubters wrong? It's hopefully looking that way!
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