Wales dilemma for Henson

World Cup selection could signal end of centre's stay at Toulon

Last Updated: 18/04/11 10:00am

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Gavin Henson's possible inclusion in the Wales World Cup squad could threaten his chances of signing a new deal at Toulon.

The 29-year-old centre - currently on a short-term contract at Stade Mayol - has made an encouraging start to his career at the French club, scoring a try on his debut against Stade Francais.

Wales backs coach Rob Howley has since backed Henson to be involved in the national side's World Cup warm-up matches.

But Toulon boss Philippe Saint-Andre says that he does not want to see his squad depleted any further by the tournament, which takes place during the start of the next Top 14 season.

"I need to speak to him and his agent. The problem is he will be picked for the World Cup," he told the Daily Express.

"We have nine games during that period next season and it's very difficult for me to have Jonny Wilkinson, Matt Giteau away - and him."

Big win

Toulon kept their play-off hopes alive with a win over league leaders Toulouse on Saturday and Henson is happy that his performances are being noticed.

"It's great to hear what Rob Howley had to say but it's early days. I have to get a run of games going. That game against Toulouse was only my second start for Toulon," he said.

"It's great for me, the type of game I've missed while I've been out. I'm quite happy with my form and my fitness isn't too bad. That was the biggest club game I've ever played in, absolutely massive."

And, in contrast to Saint-Andre, the former Ospreys and Saracens player seems confident that international duty will not be an obstacle to him progressing at the club.

He added: "When I first signed, they were keen for me to play for my country. There wasn't a problem.

"But first and foremost I have to do a job for Toulon. They are the main people I need to persuade. I must be doing something right to be starting for a team like this."

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