Jonathan Davies: Henson's arrival calls for a reshuffle at No 10

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Gavin Henson is on track to be one of the stars of the Six Nations. He claims to have been held up by Iestyn Harris's presence in the Welsh team last season but that's typical of his impatience - he has arrived now and no one will get in his way.

Gavin Henson is on track to be one of the stars of the Six Nations. He claims to have been held up by Iestyn Harris's presence in the Welsh team last season but that's typical of his impatience - he has arrived now and no one will get in his way.

Henson is a quality player and his size is deceptive. He is a huge bloke and has always seemed to be a little casual but he has adapted to every level he has reached and now looks very comfortable as an international.

Some have questioned his defence, and I think the South Africans may have targeted him last week, but he tackled very well and is ready to make a big impact on the game.

It doesn't take much for Welsh optimism to soar towards the stratosphere, so a narrow defeat against the Springboks and putting 66 points on Romania on Friday has everyone excited about their chances against New Zealand this Saturday.

The fact that Graham Henry is talking about playing an experimental All Blacks team against Wales is doing nothing to dampen the hopes.

But while I think they have a right to be quietly confident, there's still work to be done on the basics. In the Romanian match on Friday night, as against South Africa, they were dropping passes, turning the ball over and messing up kick-offs. In the end, it didn't make any difference but mistakes cost them the match against South Africa and you can't afford to be slack against good sides.

On the plus side, coach Mike Ruddock would have seen plenty to please him aside from the 10 tries. He appreciated the patterns that were set and the combinations and partnerships he could see developing.

There's encouragement everywhere. The back row worked well and it will continue to do so as long as Michael Owen plays No 8 but when he is forced into lock, the back row suffers and he is not the force he can be.

Leaving him at No 8 raises the problem of who to play alongside Brent Cockbain in the second row. The candidates are the veteran Gareth Llewellyn or the youngsters Luke Charteris, who made his debut on Friday, or Jonathan Thomas, another back-rower who would be playing out of position.

Llewellyn is performing very well but his career is nearing its end and I would go for one of the younger players. Ruddock was pleased with the debut of the 6 ft 9in Charteris but he has yet to start a match for his regional side and a clash with the All Blacks might be a bit premature.

Both props went well and there's healthy competition for that position as there is in most parts of the team.

There's no better proof of that than at centre. My man of the match on Friday was Tom Shanklin who scored four excellent tries and yet I'd be inclined to make him a replacement on Saturday.

It seems unfair but I would start with Sonny Parker at outside centre and be safe in the knowledge that Shanklin has a great record coming off the bench.

I don't like players to play out of position but it is a very difficult policy to follow with Wales at the moment. Captain Gareth Thomas is playing at full-back when he is obviously the best centre in Wales.

It is similar with Henson. He is out of position at inside-centre because Stephen Jones is a fixture at outside-half where Henson is playing so well for Ospreys. My preference would be for Thomas and Henson to swap roles but since they were interchanging regularly on Friday it might not make any difference.

Scrum-half is another hot-spot for Wales. Dwayne Peel's form has kept the returning Gareth Cooper out, but Cooper came off the bench on Friday to remind everyone how good he is.

But there are several former first choices who are having to get used to a bit of bench duty. Rhys Williams and Martyn Williams are two of them Since pace is everything in international rugby, I would have Rhys starting on the wing on Saturday. It would be tough on Hal Luscombe who has performed very well but fierce competition is a harsh reality in Wales these days.

That plus the ability of so many players to work well and improvise together is going to be a big plus factor for Wales during the season.

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