Ban rules Wales centre Henson out of England showdown

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The Independent Online

Gavin Henson, subjected to some rough treatment by Leicester when his Ospreys side visited Welford Road in the Heineken Cup 13 days ago, decided to get his retaliation in first when the sides met again on the outskirts of Swansea last weekend.

Unfortunately for the Lions Test centre, he made too good a job of it. Yesterday, Henson was found guilty of elbowing the Tigers prop Alex Moreno in the face and suspended until 5 March - a ban that rules him out of Wales' first three games of the Six Nations Championship.

The 23-year-old midfielder would have been an automatic choice for Wales, who start their tournament campaign with a match against England at Twickenham on 4 February - a game widely considered to be the biggest in these islands since the 1999 World Cup.

He will also miss his country's home match with Scotland eight days later and the trip to Ireland on 26 February, although a successful appeal could yet free him up for the date at Lansdowne Road.

Henson's colleague, the lock Ian Evans, was suspended for eight weeks and two days by the same disciplinary panel, who upheld an allegation of stamping on the Leicester scrum-half Harry Ellis during last weekend's game.