Jenkins backs Henson’s Saracens move

WALES assistant coach Neil Jenkins has welcomed the prospect of centre Gavin Henson relaunching his stagnant career at Saracens.

Henson has not played competitively for 18 months but is eager to return to the game and has this week trained with Sarries with a view to a move from Ospreys.

The 28-year-old still harbours hopes of forcing his way back into the Wales side for the Six Nations and, while that seems unlikely, Jenkins hinted that Henson would be welcome back in the national squad.

“Gav is a fantastic player, and getting back involved in the game, good luck to him,” said Jenkins. “We want our best players playing, and Gav is certainly one of those. If he does get back on the park, good on him, and hopefully we will see him soon at some point.”

Wales coach Warren Gatland has overlooked English-based players for the upcoming autumn internationals and Jenkins warned Henson that moving to the Premiership may hinder his international prospects.

Henson’s signing is complicated by his commitments to television show Strictly Come Dancing and his existing contract with Ospreys. Saracens hope he will be able to train in between practice and filming while talks have been held with the Welsh outfit over compensation.

“It is not easy when you are not playing in Wales,” added Jenkins. “If he does sign for Saracens I am sure he will be under a similar contract to all the other boys, so it won’t be easy for him to turn up [for Wales duty].”

Meanwhile, Gatland has named hooker Matthew Rees as captain for their next Test, against Australia on Saturday 6 November.

The Scarlets skipper is set to lead the team for the first time with Ospreys back-row Ryan Jones the latest player to be ruled out by injury.

Jones has a torn calf muscle and will be reassessed after the Wallabies clash but Cardiff Blues back Leigh Halfpenny has been written off for the entire autumn campaign after suffering ankle ligament damage.