"I'm not getting any younger, I'm playing for a contract ... this is it, really." So said the much travelled, much troubled Gavin Henson before his debut for Cardiff Blues in late December and, as the Blues must now be added to his long list of former clubs, that may very well be that. The celebrity centre was sacked yesterday after a night on the sauce in Glasgow, followed by some drunken antics with some ice cubes on the flight home. His apology cut no ice with his employers.
The Lions midfielder signed an eight-month contract with the Blues in October following a painfully drawn-out departure from Ospreys, a brief fling with Saracens and a high-profile move to the French Top 14 club Toulon that ended after a booze-driven ruckus with clubmates in a Riviera nightspot. It may not have been the long-term deal Henson was seeking, but it turned out to be plenty long enough for the Blues, who decided to write off the last two months of the agreement.
"Gavin admitted himself that his behaviour was totally unacceptable and the immediate termination of his contract sends out a clear message that behaviour like that will not be tolerated at the Blues," said the club's chief executive, Richard Holland.
Holland went on to wish Henson "the best of luck" with his future career. That career is at least as likely to be in broadcasting as in rugby: perhaps more so, given the high value placed on notoriety in the peculiar world of "reality" television.
Certainly, it is difficult to imagine another of the Welsh regions taking a punt on him; still less a Premiership team in England. France might offer possibilities, but with the problems at Toulon still fresh in the memory, Henson is not an easy sell. Depressingly, he no longer has a home in a game he patently loves, even if he has done it precious few favours of late. If this is the last the sport sees of him, the prevailing sense will be one of waste.
Some of England's high-profile players have also had problems of late, and the Northampton flanker Calum Clark has been suspended until November for leaving the Leicester hooker Rob Hawkins with a fractured elbow.
Yesterday, another England half-back was up before the bench. Leicester's Ben Youngs admitted striking the London Irish forward Jamie Gibson with his knee during a Premiership game last month and was banned for a week. As the Tigers imposed their own suspension after the incident, Youngs will miss no more rugby.Reuse content