When It Happens Panel Get involved: send your photos, videos, news & views by texting 'OXFORD NEWS' to 80360 or email
RUGBY UNION: Exiles take a gamble on Gavin
London Welsh head coach Lyn Jones hopes new signing Gavin Henson can draw a line under his chequered past.
The 30-year-old Welsh international centre yesterday joi-ned the Exiles, who will play at Oxford’s Kassam Stadium in the Aviva Premiership next season.
London Welsh are Henson’s fifth club in 21 months, during which time he has been known as much for his off-field antics as his rugby skill.
But Jones, who also coached Henson at the Ospreys, is happy with the move.
“Gavin has a great talent, but over the past three or four seasons he has not realised his full potential for a number of reasons that are well documented,” said Jones.
“I sincerely hope and believe he can now draw a line under that period and move forward again with London Welsh.
“What’s important for Gavin is that he concentrates 100 per cent on his game and learning how to become the best he can possibly be again.
“I think he can add a great deal to our game and we can also do a lot for him.
“We all appreciate the skills that he can bring to a game, but what teammates and coaches will be looking for is consistency of that ability.
“That’s the challenge for Gavin, to hold his concentration fully on rugby as he did when he started his career, when rugby was first, second and third on his list of priorities.”
Henson has won 33 Welsh caps and played in a Lions Test as well as securing the Six Nations title in 2005 and 2008, although he garnered as many headlines for his relationship with singer Charlotte Church.
Henson, who will not give interviews until Welsh’s press day next month, teams up with former Ospreys and Wales centre partner Sonny Parker, who joined the Exiles in April.
London Welsh managing director John Taylor added: “We are obviously delighted to have been able to sign a player of Gavin’s pedigree.
“He is the first to admit things have gone a little haywire over the last few years, but he has impressed on me that he still feels he has a lot to prove as a rugby player and is determined to ensure he is not remembered as somebody who never fulfilled his great potential.
“I am confident he will fit in well here and it is obvious he cannot wait to get back to what he does best – playing rugby.”