Gavin Henson's hopes of Wales return hit by Bath's refusal to play ball

Club refuse to let their centre take part in old-style Probables v Possibles match ahead of next month's two-Test series in South Africa

rugby union correspondent

Gavin Henson has been something of a trial to his employers down the years – Ospreys, Cardiff Blues, Toulon and Bath have all had reason to wonder whether the celebrity centre is more trouble than he is worth – so there is something deeply ironic about the fact that he is about to miss a trial through no fault of his own.

Henson has not played for Wales in almost three years, but his selection for the old-style Probables v Possibles match ahead of next month's two-Test series in South Africa gives him a platform from which to launch a comeback. At least, it would if he was free to participate.

As things stand, Bath will not make either Henson or the prop Paul James available for the hastily arranged fixture, scheduled for the Liberty Stadium in Swansea a fortnight on Friday. Similarly, there is no prospect of Leicester giving the fast-developing playmaker Owen Williams the go-ahead to take part, or Saracens freeing the front-rower Rhys Gill for the game. Premier Rugby, the top-flight English clubs' administrative body, made it clear that as the trial match was not covered by regulations relating to international player release, there was no good reason to support it.

Ryan Jones, a long-serving Wales international and one of the most popular figures in the game, is also at risk: he has just joined second-tier Bristol, who are in the thick of a tough promotion play-off campaign, and is likely to be held back by his new club. The single exception among the Welshmen exiled in England is the Lions wing George North, who may take part if Northampton fail to reach the Premiership final on 31 May.

The issue over North's contract with the Midlanders, who broke ranks by guaranteeing his release for all Wales internationals and were landed with a one-off fine of £60,000 by a Premiership Rugby disciplinary panel as a result, was thrashed out before Christmas and will not be revisited.

The Wales selectors, led by head coach Warren Gatland, are now waiting to hear from France, where a number of other exiles – the centre Jamie Roberts, the scrum-half Mike Phillips and the flanker Dan Lydiate among them – are earning their corn. The trial was organised to bridge the gap between the end of the club season and departure for Springbok country.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
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

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn