Gavin Henson, still doing his cha-cha-chas in high definition across a television screen near you, took a significant step of the non-dancing variety towards resuming his day job yesterday when he trained with Saracens, in desperate need of a goal-kicking midfielder after losing the former Springbok outside-half Derick Hougaard to long-term injury. "Yes, Gavin took part in our session, and he thoroughly enjoyed it," said Edward Griffiths, the Watford-based club's chief executive, last night.
The celebrity centre has been in self-imposed sporting exile for some 19 months and is reluctant to return to club rugby in his native Wales. Ospreys, the most powerful of the Welsh regional teams, have just about given up on him and if Saracens can reach agreement with them, he could be playing rugby in the Premiership well before Christmas.
"There are a couple of issues outstanding," Griffiths said. "I'm in touch with Ospreys and I hope to bring things to a satisfactory conclusion fairly quickly. Speed is important to us, because this has been driven by the injury to Derick. There is also the question of his commitments to the BBC."
Henson is appearing in BBC 1's Strictly Come Dancing and, depending on his success in foxtrotting his way past the likes of Ann Widdecombe, could be for several more weeks. Yet Saracens feel an agreement can be reached, though the corporation would be uneasy at a participant wearing a tight-fitting sequined shirt while sporting a black eye.
Should Griffiths close the deal, the way will be open for Henson to challenge for a place in the Wales squad for next year's World Cup in New Zealand. It might also help Saracens draw a crowd to Vicarage Road after years of struggle.