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Last Updated: Wednesday, 3 November, 2004, 22:00 GMT
Henson happy to take centre role
Wales centre Gavin Henson
Gavin Henson admits he still needs to prove he has the tactical awareness and poise to play at fly-half for Wales.

The 22-year-old has impressed at fly-half for the Ospreys this season, but will play at inside centre for Wales against South Africa on Saturday.

"I think there's some concern over my talking and decision making abilities at 10," Henson told BBC Wales Sport.

"So they've gone for the experience of Stephen Jones with me just inside to take a little pressure off him."

Henson had his first taste of international rugby at inside centre in Mike Ruddock's first game as Wales coach last May.

His try-scoring performance in the 42-0 thrashing of the Barbarians won him rave reviews, but he then struggled to make an impact in Wales' next game against Argentina.

He was moved back to a more familiar full-back role in the second Test against the Pumas, and for the one-off Test against South Africa in Pretoria.

But despite splitting his time between full-back and fly-half for Celtic League leaders Ospreys, Henson is confident he will cope at centre against Tri-Nations champions South Africa at the Millennium Stadium.

"I haven't played at centre much at all in my career, but if training is anything to go by I'll feel very comfortable," Hansen said.

We'll be looking to play a bit of rugby too and entertain a bit
Wales centre Gavin Henson
"It feels like my natural position so things should go well on Saturday."

Springboks coach Jake White has identified Henson as one to watch and said he is not surprised that Ruddock has followed the current international trend of playing a natural fly-half at inside centre.

"That's an interesting decision by Mike [Ruddock]. Henson will be a dangerman."

Stephen Jones will continue in his goalkicking role, but Henson - one of the most powerful kickers in Welsh rugby - knows he will have a crucial part to play with his boot.

"I'm striking the ball well, it's just the place kicking that could be a little better; but Stephen Jones will be taking the kicks at goal so the pressure is off there I suppose," added Henson.

"But I think they'll be looking for my punting to play a big part in this game.

"South Africa have got a good kicking game with Percy Montgomery, so I think it will be a bit of a kicking battle early on for territory.

"It's a big part of the game and I think we'll be using it as well. But we'll be looking to play a bit of rugby too and entertain a bit. That's our strength. We've got a hell of a backline."

Bowen believes Henson can adapt
04 Nov 04 |  Internationals


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