Wales coach Gareth Jenkins today admitted Gavin Henson has run out of time in his bid to be a part of the nation’s 2007 Rugby World Cup squad.
Henson, suffering largely from a lack of conditioning and game-time due to a series of injuries that have plagued him for a good two years – pelvis, knee, Achilles tendon and toe injuries – has been omitted from Jenkins’ side to face England at Twickenham on Saturday.
“We have taken an early decision on Gavin and decided that he is no longer in contention for the Rugby World Cup squad which must be named before August 14th and so not considered him for selection against England,” said Jenkins.
“We have given him every opportunity to make it and it’s been a tough summer for Gav in which he has worked hard.
“He’s had every opportunity we could have given him, but the recent Achilles injury in particular has meant he’s not been able to train at full pelt and that has reflected in his conditioning. I think we all agree he is not where he needs to be.
“We have talked to him today and he is very understanding. It was a tough call but a call that was necessary and one we had to make sooner rather than later for his sake as well as ours.
“He is disappointed, but I think he’s realised he’s been fighting a bit of a losing battle in the last month.
“He’s been unlucky, he’s a talent we know that, but a talent is one thing. Current form and being as fit as everyone else is equally important, but Gav is not having the bounce he’s not having the luck.
“He’s an international standard rugby player he knows that and this doesn’t mean his World Cup is necessarily over either.
“If his form is good and he’s improved on fitness between now and September then he’ll have a chance. Anything can happen in a World Cup and we may still need him yet if we get an injury.”
Henson is obviously disappointed, but he has accepted his coaches decision. “I can understand the decision that’s been taken,” added Henson.
“I know I’m not quite where I would like to be at the moment conditioning wise. All I can do now is train hard, get back to the Ospreys get my fitness back, get my form back and make myself available if called upon.
“I would have thought that I’d be at full fitness by September its just these games have come around too soon for me. It’s been frustrating I’ve had to play catch up for a while and these games have come a bit too early for me.
“It’s extremely disappointing for, as it is every players dream to play rugby for their country, and I’ve taken great pride in pulling on the Wales every time I’ve been selected and it would’ve been particularly special to do so at the World Cup.
“I’m only 25, I believe I’m still young and if I don’t feature in this World Cup I hope I can feature in the next.”