Wales working on Gavin
Wales coach Warren Gatland says that he is working with Gavin Henson to try and increase his self-confidence.
Last Updated: 05/11/08 4:03pm
Wales coach Warren Gatland says that he and his coaching staff are working with Gavin Henson to try and increase his self-confidence ahead of the autumn internationals.
Henson is a flamboyant character both on and off the field and enjoys the sort of celebrity lifestyle that Danny Cipriani is growing into.
However, Gatland says that in reality Henson is a quiet and private person and in fact the Wales coaching staff are working on getting him to come out of his shell more.
Wales prepare to take on World Cup winners South Africa at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday and Henson has a big role to play.
"Gavin expresses himself by the way he looks on the field and stuff," Gatland said.
"Off the field he is very quiet and a very private person. A lot of people are surprised to hear that.
"From our point of view we are working with him to get him to talk more and communicate more and get confidence and self-belief in his ability.
"When he does go out there and he has that belief and confidence, we know what a great player he can be.
"That is just part of our role as coaches, to keep talking to him and keep giving him those responsibilities and leadership roles we've been working on."
26-year-old Ospreys star Henson is battling back from an ankle injury but, as captain of Wales' defence, he has a major role to play under Gatland.
Henson needs to have more confidence in his ability, according to his coach, and needs to also have the belief to voice his ideas on and off the pitch.
"Last season there were a number of things we were really pleased with, such as Gavin's carrying and running with the ball, which was very direct," Gatland added.
"He had a really good mixture to his game. That combination of numbers 10, 12 and 13 is going to be pretty vital to us, particularly Gavin as defensive captain.
"He didn't go on the summer tour (to South Africa) because he was injured, and he has only had a few games under his belt since.
"Gavin is one of those players that likes to have a number of games under his belt to feel good about himself when he's playing.
"That is the type of player he is.
"But when he gets back into the swing of things and has a few games you will see that confidence return. I am not worried about that at all.
"We have said to him there is no need to push himself - he doesn't need to train if the Achilles is giving him a bit of a problem - but he's very keen to get out there, work and keep building on the combination with Stephen Jones and Jamie Roberts."