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Last Updated: Friday, 21 May, 2004, 16:20 GMT 17:20 UK
Henson fills Harris hole
Gavin Henson
After naming Gavin Henson at inside centre against the Barbarians, Wales coach Mike Ruddock said he can take on Iestyn Harris' play-making mantle.

"Henson has similar passing and footballing attributes to Harris," Ruddock told BBC Sport Wales.

"We've talked about continuity. There were a lot of midfield injuries but we didn't want to change the back three."

Henson, 22, has been fly-half for Wales and plays his regional rugby for the Ospreys at full-back.

There is no need to bring on the props after 30 minutes
Mike Ruddock
Wales backs coach Scott Johnson believes that the talented youngster's best position is in the centre, though.

Although Ruddock was keen to stress the continuity from Steve Hansen's reign as coach, he has worked on the front row, the biggest area of concern under the Kiwi.

Ruddock has named four props in his 22-man squad and seems to be considering Warriors loose-head Gethin Jenkins in his regional position, rather than on the tight-head where Hansen chose to use the youngster.

"We have the option to move Michael Owen from number eight to the second row, and that means we can look at the strategy of having two props on the bench," said Ruddock.

"That gives us the chance to bring both on to freshen the scrum, with one eye on the challenge that will be posed in the tight on our summer tour of Argentina.

Wales coach Mike Ruddock
I have a lot of sympathy for the Warriors players
Mike Ruddock
"There is no need to bring on the props after 30 minutes, though," he added, in reference to Hansen's policy of withdrawing tight-head Adam Jones early in the first half of games.

Ruddock has selected five Warriors players in his first team, and says he understands their plight as the future of the regional team hangs in the balance.

"I have a lot of sympathy for the Warriors players, it's disrupted our training but they've had to be at the meetings to find out first hand what is happening," said Ruddock.

"They're very professional and will get on with the job in hand."




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