Depending on your point of view, Wales’ third place play-off against Australia this Friday is either an important moment for the future of Welsh rugby or a complete waste of time – and the return of Gavin Henson to rugby will provoke similarly disparate opinions.
Henson has signed for Cardiff Blues in his latest attempt to get back into the game and replicate the form that saw him help Wales to Grand Slam victories in 2005 and 2008.
Speaking to the official Blues website, Henson said: “I’ve been saying I wanted to play back in Wales and I’m glad of the opportunity that Cardiff Blues have given me.
“I just want to do everything I can to make them happy and to enjoy my rugby. I’m glad I’ve signed here.”
Henson has endured a torrid couple of years following his move away from the Ospreys, with stints on reality television shows being punctuated with unhappy spells at Saracens and Toulon.
Despite his difficult time at Toulon, Henson still did enough to be named in Wales’ preliminary squad for the Rugby World Cup but was ruled out of the tournament after suffering a dislocated wrist in a warm-up game against England.
Despite the absence of Henson, Welsh rugby has enjoyed a brilliant couple of weeks with Warren Gatland’s side surging to the semi final of the World Cup thanks to an exciting young team playing expansive, attacking rugby.
However, there is no doubt the Welsh team would have been significantly improved with a fully-fit Henson pushing for a place in the backs.
Wales will have to do without the Strictly Come Dancing star for their third place play-off against Australia this Friday though and are 5/4 outsiders following their brave semi-final defeat against France.
Meanwhile, Australia head into the game as 8/13 favourites but have been forced to make wholesale changes due to a growing injury list.