Bristol confirm Gavin Henson deal
Former Wales international set to join his ninth club this summer as Aviva Premiership hopefuls continue to build squad
Bristol Rugby have confirmed that former Wales international Gavin Henson will join the club in the summer.
Bristol is a well-run club with great facilities and a clear ambition for the future. I’m keen to play my part in that vision. I want to play rugby and focus on my game.
The 32-year-old versatile back is the latest in a string of Welshmen to link up with former Ospreys head coach Sean Holley at the Greene King IPA Championship club.
Henson’s widely-anticipated move from near neighbours Bath Rugby, on a one-year-deal, comes quickly after the club confirmed the capture of former Wales hooker Marc Jones from Sale Sharks.
“I’m looking forward to the opportunity of working with Andy [Robinson] and, once again, with Sean,” Henson said.
“Bristol is a well-run club with great facilities and a clear ambition for the future.
“I’m keen to play my part in that vision. I want to play rugby and focus on my game.
“The incentive for me is to show a positive attitude in a Bristol shirt and keep working hard on my performances.
“I’ve really enjoyed the last couple of seasons here at Bath. It’s a great environment to be part of, and the supporters are fantastic.
“I’m looking forward to a new challenge with Bristol, but for the time being my focus is totally on Bath and doing all I can to help finish the season on a high.”
His latest move could be the final chapter in a career occasionally mired in controversy off the field which overshadowed his early playing days that included two Celtic League titles during Holley’s tenure at the Ospreys, two Grand Slam titles with Wales, and a cap for the British and Irish Lions in 2005.
“Gavin’s all-round rugby ability will enhance the way that we are trying to develop our game. He’s a good fit for us,” said Bristol director of rugby Andy Robinson.
“Gavin’s performances have been consistently good and he has worked hard.
“He’s shown professionalism and a positive attitude. Gavin is hungry and wants to play rugby.
“Coupled with his vast experience at the highest level, Gavin’s arrival will provide us with nous and versatility in our young and exciting backline.”
After leaving the Ospreys in 2009, Henson took a sabbatical from rugby with a TV career of sorts, before making a comeback with brief spells with Saracens and Toulon.
He returned to the PRO12 in 2011 with Cardiff Blues, but was later sacked after a drunken incident on a flight back to the Welsh capital after a match against Glasgow Warriors.
Gavin’s all-round rugby ability will enhance the way that we are trying to develop our game. He’s a good fit for us.
A season in the Premiership with London Welsh before he announced he was leaving the relegated Exiles to join Bath. A month later he was knocked out by Bath team-mate Carl Fearns during a night out.
Henson initially struggled to break into the first team at The Rec following his arrival in 2013, but has gone on to make over 30 appearances for the club, featuring in their Champions Cup campaign this season against Glasgow Warriors and Toulouse before injury curtailed his season.
“Gavin has brought a lot of experience to the squad in his time here, and his versatility has been a real asset for us,” said Bath head coach Mike Ford.
“We understand his reasons for joining Bristol, and wish him all the best there.”