Henson out of Wales squad amid fitness concerns

It would have been quite a sight: Gavin Henson, hair permed and legs waxed, playing Test rugby in wet and windy Patagonia, where the local definition of a prima donna is a farmer with a centrally-heated house. Unfortunately, the celebrity centre has been withdrawn from the Wales squad to tour Argentina this summer after failing to meet fitness standards. He will, according to the new national coach Gareth Jenkins, spend the summer "getting himself right" with an eye on next year's World Cup in France.

Henson has not enjoyed the best of years, to say the least. He cut a sorry figure on the British and Irish Lions tour of New Zealand - his supporters still insist the goal-kicking midfielder was badly mishandled by Sir Clive Woodward and his senior back-room staff - and then landed himself in a heap of trouble by putting his name to a warts-and-all diary account of his year in the spotlight. By way of making matters worse, he was also sent off while playing for the Ospreys in a nasty Heineken Cup pool game with Leicester.

The main concern over Henson now is the state of his body - and, reading between the lines, his mind. "There is an injury component to deal with - a troublesome groin that needs managing - but we didn't feel the problem was sufficient to rule him out of the tour and initially decided he would benefit from game time," said Jenkins yesterday. "However, after working closely with Gavin in training this week and talking to him and his regional coaches, we have taken the collective decision that he will be more valuable to us next season after a summer working on his conditioning and bringing his speed and weight back up to optimum levels."

While Wales are playing the Pumas in Puerto Madryn - as well as in the more familiar surroundings of the Argentinian capital, Buenos Aires - there will be a good deal of activity at the other end of the American land mass. England A, rechristened England Saxons for reasons best known to those elderly Twickenhamites who claim to have played alongside Alfred the Great, will be in Canada, defending the Churchill Cup against the likes of the New Zealand Maori.

David Barnes, the Bath prop and current chairman of the Professional Rugby Players' Association, will lead the 28-strong party - a fair reflection of his performances for the West Country club at Premiership and Heineken Cup levels. With the England under-21 selectors having first call on the likes of Ryan Lamb, Danny Care and Jack Forster ahead of the forthcoming age-group World Cup, the Toronto-bound squad is not quite as ambitious as it might have been.

But it does still feature a number of eye-catching Premiership performers, including two - the Gloucester No 8 James Forrester and the young London Irish hooker David Paice - who should have made the cut for the fully-fledged Test business in Australia.

There was no confirmation of the Saxons' coaching panel, an indication that John Wells, the former Leicester coach originally lined up for the trip, will fly to Sydney with the senior team. Jon Callard, who works alongside Wells at the national academy, is the favourite to take on the Churchill Cup role.

News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
News
people Emma Watson addresses celebrity nude photo leak
Arts and Entertainment
tv
News
Katie Hopkins appearing on 'This Morning' after she purposefully put on 4 stone.
peopleKatie Hopkins breaks down in tears over weight gain challenge
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
fashionModel of the moment shoots for first time with catwalk veteran
Sport
Alexis Sanchez, Radamel Falcao, Diego Costa and Mario Balotelli
football
Sport
Danny Welbeck's Manchester United future is in doubt
footballGunners confirm signing from Manchester United
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Olivia Colman topped the list of the 30 most influential females in broadcasting
tv
Life and Style
techIf those brochure kitchens look a little too perfect to be true, well, that’s probably because they are
Life and Style
tech
News
Kelly Brook
peopleA spokesperson said the support group was 'extremely disappointed'
Sport
Andy Murray celebrates a shot while playing Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
TennisWin sets up blockbuster US Open quarter-final against Djokovic
Arts and Entertainment
Hare’s a riddle: Kit Williams with the treasure linked to Masquerade
booksRiddling trilogy could net you $3m
Arts and Entertainment
Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand performs live
music Pro-independence show to take place four days before vote
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering