Henson named in Wales tour trial game

Bath centre Gavin Henson has been named in the Probables squad to prepare for Wales’ senior trial match on May 30.

Henson named in Wales tour trial game

Bath centre Gavin Henson has been named in the Probables squad to prepare for Wales’ senior trial match on May 30.

Henson, 32, has not played for Wales since he was injured during a 2011 World Cup warm-up game against England in Cardiff.

Henson is among a 26-man Probables squad that will be captained by Alun-Wyn Jones to face the Possibles, another 26-man group under the leadership of Cardiff Blues hooker Matthew Rees.

The game is a full-blown preparation for Wales’ two-Test South Africa tour next month.

Wales head coach Warren Gatland is due to announce a 31-man tour squad during his post-match press conference following the trial game at Swansea's Liberty Stadium.

There is no guarantee, though, that Henson and other Wales players with Aviva Premiership clubs will be released for the trial.

English clubs and French teams are not obliged to release players as the game is not a Test match, as stipulated by the International Rugby Board.

Northampton wing George North has release in his Saints contract for full Wales duties, but it is possible that he will be involved in the Aviva Premiership final at Twickenham on May 31.

Racing Metro trio Jamie Roberts, Mike Phillips and Dan Lydiate, meanwhile, could be otherwise engaged in the French Top 14 final that same weekend.

Racing face a semi-final against Toulon next weekend, while the Premiership play-offs see Northampton face Leicester on Friday night and Saracens hosting Harlequins the following day.

And Gatland is resigned to be being without several injured players for Tests against South Africa in Durban and Nelspruit, a list that includes Sam Warburton, Leigh Halfpenny, Justin Tipuric, Scott Williams and Richard Hibbard.

Scarlets fly-half Rhys Priestland, who suffered a knee injury three days ago, has also not been named in either trial squad, which suggests he will be another tour absentee.

Gatland’s assistant and Probables head coach Rob Howley has named two uncapped players in his squad – Ospreys back Sam Davies and Newport Gwent Dragons prop Owen Evans – while there are 10 uncapped players in the Possibles squad, including Leicester fly-half Owen Williams and Blues forwards Kristian Dacey and Macauley Cook.

“The trial is a great platform for us to see all of these players up close and allow them to pit themselves against each other,” Howley said.

“It takes us back to the traditional Wales trials of old, and gives players an opportunity to put their hand up for the Wales jersey. Both sides will be going hard against each other with players having a point to prove.

“It’s also a vital game in our preparation ahead of the tour to South Africa. The vast majority of the squad wouldn’t have had any game time after last weekend, and this allows us to have a meaningful match.”

And Possibles coach Robin McBryde added: “It’s an important opportunity to see these players in our environment.

“The door is always open in international rugby, and it will be good to see the squads for the week leading up to the game and in a game that has a lot of pressure attached, as trials always do.

“It’s a chance to see players go head-to-head for the jersey, and it should be a great contest.”

Six players with English clubs have been named for the trial – Henson, North, Williams, Bath prop Paul James, Saracens prop Rhys Gill and new Bristol recruit Ryan Jones.

And there are a further five France-based players in Roberts, Phillips, Lydiate, plus the Perpignan pair James Hook and Luke Charteris.

If Bristol make the Rugby Football Union Championship final – they will take a 17-14 lead into the semi-final second leg at Rotherham next weekend – then it will be decided over home and away games on May 29 and June 4.

“Premiership Rugby has a policy to only release non-England players under the conditions of IRB Regulation 9,” a Premiership Rugby spokesman told Press Association Sport.

“This regulation covers international release for every Test country across the world.

“This trial match does not fall under IRB Regulation 9.”

More in this section

CourtsRugbyHeathrowPlace: WalesPlace: CardiffPlace: SwanseaPlace: Liberty StadiumPlace: TwickenhamPlace: DurbanPlace: South AfricaPlace: FrancePlace: RotherhamPerson: HensonPerson: Gavin HensonPerson: Alun-Wyn JonesPerson: Matthew ReesPerson: Warren GatlandPerson: George NorthPerson: Jamie RobertsPerson: Mike PhillipsPerson: Dan LydiatePerson: GatlandPerson: Sam WarburtonPerson: Leigh HalfpennyPerson: Justin TipuricPerson: Scott WilliamsPerson: Richard HibbardPerson: Rhys PriestlandPerson: Rob HowleyPerson: Sam DaviesPerson: Owen EvansPerson: Owen WilliamsPerson: Kristian DaceyPerson: Macauley CookPerson: HowleyPerson: Robin McBrydePerson: WilliamsPerson: Paul JamesPerson: Rhys GillPerson: Ryan JonesPerson: RobertsPerson: PhillipsPerson: LydiatePerson: James HookPerson: Luke CharterisEvent: 2011 World CupEvent: Aviva Premiership finalEvent: PremiershipEvent: Rugby Football Union ChampionshipOrganisation: ProbablesOrganisation: Wales’Organisation: EnglandOrganisation: Cardiff BluesOrganisation: Aviva PremiershipOrganisation: International Rugby BoardOrganisation: NorthamptonOrganisation: SaintsOrganisation: WalesOrganisation: Racing MetroOrganisation: RacingOrganisation: ToulonOrganisation: LeicesterOrganisation: SaracensOrganisation: HarlequinsOrganisation: South AfricaOrganisation: NelspruitOrganisation: ScarletsOrganisation: OspreysOrganisation: Newport Gwent DragonsOrganisation: BluesOrganisation: BathOrganisation: BristolOrganisation: Premiership RugbyOrganisation: Press Association Sport
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