Henson's career looks over after Blues sacking

Centre pays price for drunken misdeeds to leave his future in top-level rugby in doubt

"I'm not getting any younger, I'm playing for a contract ... this is it, really." So said the much travelled, much troubled Gavin Henson before his debut for Cardiff Blues in late December and as the Blues must now be added to his long list of former clubs, that may very well be that. The celebrity centre was sacked yesterday after a heavily publicised night on the sauce in Glasgow, followed by some drunken antics with some ice cubes on the flight home. Unfortunately for him, his apology cut no ice with his employers.

The Lions midfielder signed an eight-month contract with the Blues in October following a painfully drawn-out departure from Ospreys, a brief and deeply unsatisfying fling with Saracens and a high-profile move to the French Top 14 club Toulon that ended after a booze-driven ruckus with clubmates in a Riviera nightspot. It may not have been the long-term deal Henson was seeking, but it turned out to be plenty long enough for the Blues who, after a management board meeting, decided to write off the last two months of the agreement.

"Gavin admitted himself that his behaviour was totally unacceptable and the immediate termination of his contract sends out a clear message that behaviour like that will not be tolerated at the Blues," said the club's chief executive Richard Holland. "We have a duty to our supporters and sponsors to protect the good name of Cardiff Blues and those associated with our brand."

Holland went on to thank Henson for his services at Cardiff – he had made just eight appearances for the club, two of them off the bench – and wish him "the best of luck" with his future career.

That career is at least as likely to be in broadcasting as in rugby: perhaps more so, given the high value placed on notoriety in the peculiar world of "reality" television, on which the 30-year-old player from Bridgend has made a mark in recent years.

Certainly, it is difficult to imagine another of the Welsh regions taking a punt on him; still less one of the Premiership teams in England. France, where the cash-rich elite clubs have been barely touched by the eurozone crisis, might offer some possibilities, but with the problems at Toulon still fresh in the memory, Henson is not an easy sell even there.

This latest incident may not come as a complete shock to those who have watched his career unfold, but it is none the less deflating for that. As Holland acknowledged, Henson is a rich talent – indeed, he might well have made the Wales squad for last year's World Cup, but for a wrist injury suffered in a warm-up game against England – and there remains something in Henson that yearns to make a go of it in a sport he seemed capable of mastering, even dominating, when he won his early caps as a Swansea player.

"I'd like to think I'm a good rugby player and I want to be involved with Wales again," he said before Christmas. "I've missed Wales – not just playing for the national team, but everything to do with living in the country. It's my home."

Depressingly, he no longer has a home in a game he patently loves, even if he has done it precious few favours of late. If this is the last the union code sees of him, the prevailing sense will be one of waste.

Some of England's high-profile players have had their problems of late, both on and off the field: the Harlequins scrum-half Danny Care was thrown out of the Six Nations squad following two drink-related entanglements with the law, while the Northampton hooker Dylan Hartley is serving an eight-week ban after being found guilty of biting an opponent.

Hartley's clubmate, the uncapped flanker Calum Clark, has been suspended until November for leaving the Leicester hooker Rob Hawkins with a fractured elbow.

Yesterday, another England half-back was up before the bench. Ben Youngs of Leicester admitted striking the talented young London Irish forward Jamie Gibson with his knee during a Premiership game last month and was banned for a week. As the Tigers imposed their own suspension after the incident, Youngs will miss no more rugby.

Henson histrionics

October 2005

Henson's autobiography is published – the fly-half has to apologise to team-mates for comments made.

December 2007

Henson is charged with disorderly conduct after behaviour on a train – the case was later dropped.

April 2009

Henson cautioned by police "in relation to an incident" following an alleged assault in Cardiff.

December 2010

Henson plays for Saracens after an 18-month break from the game, during which he appeared on TV.

February 2010

Released by Saracens to join Toulon.

April 2011

Henson is suspended for two weeks by Toulon, and later released, following an incident on a night out.

Suggested Topics
News
Ben Little, right, is a Labour supporter while Jonathan Rogers supports the Green Party
general election 2015
News
The 91st Hakone Ekiden Qualifier at Showa Kinen Park, Tokyo, 2014
news
Life and Style
Former helicopter pilot Major Tim Peake will become the first UK astronaut in space for over 20 years
food + drinkNothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
News
Kim Wilde began gardening in the 1990s when she moved to the countryside
peopleThe singer is leading an appeal for the charity Thrive, which uses the therapy of horticulture
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Alexis Sanchez celebrates scoring a second for Arsenal against Reading
football
Life and Style
health
Voices
An easy-peel potato; Dave Hax has come up with an ingenious method in food preparation
voicesDave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
News
i100
News
Japan's population is projected to fall dramatically in the next 50 years (Wikimedia)
news
Life and Style
Buyers of secondhand cars are searching out shades last seen in cop show ‘The Sweeney’
motoringFlares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own