The injury, which flared up nine months ago, was diagnosed as a hernia and the operation has been pronounced a success. "Gavin's in extremely capable hands and is on course to make a full recovery," said Derwyn Jones, the Ospreys manager. Henson will start his rehabilitation within a week and has set his sights on returning in time to play a part in Wales's autumn international series.
Ollie Smith, Henson's fellow Lion, will start his competitive season tomorrow. The 23-year-old England centre has been named among the Leicester replacements for the A League meeting with Worcester at Welford Road.
Phil Davies, the Leeds director of rugby, has dismissed the claims of his Saracens counterpart, Steve Diamond, that the north London side have no chance of winning the Premiership this season.
Diamond declared his side was "a year or two away" from challenging for the title after losing to Wasps last weekend. But Davies expects Saracens, Leeds' opponents at Vicarage Road this afternoon, to reach the end-of-season play-offs.
"Steve has done a tremendous job at Saracens and they're looking in good shape for the season," said Davies. "I think he was using a bit of psychology after their defeat last week. Like ourselves, they will be disappointed to have lost their opening game, but there's a long season ahead and a lot of things will change between now and May."
The former Great Britain rugby league captain Andy Farrell is still out with a toe injury, but Saracens will give a home debut today to the Lions and Ireland hooker Shane Byrne. The former All Black flanker Taine Randell is expected to return following the birth of his son.
Tim Collier has recovered from a blow to the ribs and will turn out today for Worcester away to London Irish. The Exiles' former fly-half James Brown retains his place after scoring all the Warriors' points in last Sunday's 15-15 draw with Gloucester.
The Australia flanker Owen Finegan looks set to make his Newcastle debut from the bench in today's home game against Bristol after recovering from a knee operation. The Falcons will field a different front row - Micky Ward, Matt Thompson and Robbie Morris - to the one that started last weekend's defeat at Sale.
Edinburgh surged to the top of the Celtic League with a 34-3 demolition of Connacht featuring tries from Simon Webster, Ally Hogg, Rob Dewey and Chris Paterson. Leinster moved up the table with a 26-21 win over Glasgow at Donnybrook. Rob Kearney and Kieran Lewis went over for the home side, for whom Felipe Contepomi also kicked 16 points. Craig Hamilton and Rory Lamont replied for Glasgow and the boot of Dan Parks supplied 11 points.
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