Henson closing on return to rugby

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The Independent Online

Wales star Gavin Henson has claimed he intends returning to rugby "before too long."

Henson is currently on leave from Welsh regional side the Ospreys as he works towards full fitness following a succession of injury setbacks.

The latest - an ankle ligament problem - ended all hope of him being considered for the British and Irish Lions' tour to South Africa earlier this summer.

It was reported by a national newspaper last month that Henson intended to annouce his retirement at the age of 27, so disillusioned had he become with his repeated fitness troubles.

That was denied by the player and his employers, who have now issued another statement amid further speculation in Wales that Henson might be about to call it quits.

He wasn't involved in Saturday's pre-season friendly victory over Leeds Carnegie at the Liberty Stadium.

Henson though, said: "I fully anticipate returning to the Ospreys before too long, having finally overcome the injuries that have been a recurring problem for nearly three years.

"I am grateful to the Ospreys' management for providing me with the time needed for these injuries to be finally dealt with.

"I am looking forward to getting on with my playing career at the Ospreys just as soon as I can."

The Ospreys continue their pre-season schedule by tackling Gloucester next Saturday, before facing a Magners League opener away to Connacht on Friday week.

Wales boss Warren Gatland, meanwhile, will also be keeping a close watch on the 31 times-capped centre as he begins the countdown to a tough November series of Tests that includes appointments with New Zealand and Australia.