Aviva Premiership: Bristol secure Gavin Henson’s early arrival

Wales international heads to Ashton Gate with immediate effect as London Irish utility-back Tom Homer heads to The Rec

Gavin Henson has joined Bristol Rugby after agreeing an early release from Bath.

The 33-year-old Wales international was due to link up with the Greene King IPA Championship club in the summer having agreed a one-year deal.

But with Bristol in a battle with Worcester Warriors to win promotion to the Aviva Premiership, Henson was released this week after Tom Homer secured a similar early release from his contract at London Irish to head to The Rec.

Homer, whose brother Will is already at the club, can play at full-back, centre or wing as well as offering a goal-kicking option.

He had been expected to join up with the Exiles in the summer.

“Bristol asked if Gavin could join up with them early, and knowing that he wants to get settled there, we were happy to agree to the request,” said Bath head coach Mike Ford.

“Gavin leaving has meant Tom can join us straight away, and likewise he can start learning the ropes at his new club.

“Tom is an incredibly talented young player and he’s got a great attitude that will fit in well with the squad here and our policy of recruiting young, English talent.

“He already has a huge amount of experience, given he’s only 24, and we’re really looking forward to seeing him continue developing as a player here at Bath.”

When he makes his Bristol debut, Henson will have played for nine clubs having gone through Llanelli, Swansea, Ospreys, Saracens, Toulon, Cardiff Blues, London Welsh and Bath since his career began in 2001.

The versatile back, who has struggled to hold down a place at a number of Europe’s top clubs, joins a growing contingent of Welshmen at Bristol, dubbed by some as the fifth Welsh region.

Among the Welsh exiles lured to Ashton Gate by director of rugby Andy Robinson are former Ospreys coach Sean Holley, as well as Wales internationals Ryan Jones, Ian Evans, Nicky Robinson and Dwayne Peel.

“We thank Bath for their co-operation in this matter and agreeing to Gavin’s early release”
Robinson told Bristolrugby.co.uk

“Once he has integrated into our squad, Gavin will be considered for selection and we look forward to seeing him in a Bristol jersey in the near future.”

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