Gavin Henson deserves Wales chance, says Bath prop Paul James

Bath prop Paul James believes controversial Gavin Henson deserves to be contention for Wales

Bath and Wales star Gavin Henson Photo: Peter J Dean

Bath prop Paul James believes team-mate Gavin Henson deserves to be back in contention for Wales after finally settling in to life at the Rec.

Henson, 32, was included in the ‘Probables’ squad for the Wales Senior Trial at the Liberty Stadium next week ahead of the summer tour of South Africa after three years in the international wilderness, but his club have refused to sanction his release.

He’s world class so I don’t see why he doesn’t deserve a chance

Paul James

The block could leave Wales head coach Warren Gatland with no option but to omit Henson from the touring party, but James has seen enough of the maverick utility back to decide he deserves a chance to add to his 33 international caps after making an impact for Bath in the last couple of months of the season.

“Gavin’s leadership and the way he has performed when he’s come on has been great,” said James.

“He’s getting back to the Gav of old who we know can win games. He’s world class so I don’t see why he doesn’t deserve a chance.”

The same policy to not release non-English players outside of the international window—agreed by the Aviva Premiership clubs with Premiership Rugby Ltd—also prevents James from taking his place in the ‘Possibles’ squad for the 31 May clash.

The former Ospreys duo are back in Wales for tonight’s Amlin Challenge Cup final against Premiership rivals Northampton Saints at Cardiff Arms Park with both clubs looking to add to their success in the competition.

Bath won the Challenge Cup the in 2008—the last time the final was an all-English affair—but despite Bath’s home being just 56 miles from Cardiff James is unsure of whether there will be much home support with the clubs limited to an allocation of 1,000 tickets each.

“Who knows what the atmosphere could be like in the ground because there could be a load of neutrals,” he added.

“But we can’t worry about that, it’s just got to be about the rugby for us and if we get our roles right I think we can come away with it.”

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