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Last Updated: Thursday, 9 February 2006, 13:36 GMT
Wales will welcome Henson return
Gavin Henson displays his book at the official launch
Henson's book continues to make the headlines
The Wales captain and management insist Gavin Henson will be accepted by the squad when his ban ends next week.

The controversial Lions centre has been out of the country, but continues to make headlines after a row at the team announcement for the Scotland game.

Wales' players refused to conduct interviews until the ghost writer of Henson's book left the venue.

But Wales captain Gareth Thomas said: "We don't have an issue with Gavin - categorically not at all."

Henson will be available for the Ospreys' Celtic League game with the Borders next week, when he will have completed a seven-week suspension for elbowing Leicester's Alex Moreno in a Heineken Cup game.

Wales play Ireland in Dublin the following week, and a fit and firing Henson would be a playing asset to Wales' injury-ravaged back line.

But the latest incident will fuel speculation over whether the rest of the squad can accept him after his criticism of team-mates in his book 'My Grand Slam Year'.

Skipper Thomas hauled Henson before the squad last autumn to answer for his comments, and afterwards the Ospreys star made a public apology for his actions.

Thomas added: "The matter was dealt with in-house and the day we dealt with that we drew a line under it.

"When Gavin is available or if he plays well enough to get back into the squad he will be treated like every other player and welcomed back.

"It was an issue that we thought had been put to bed. And we weren't best pleased that it had been brought up again."

During his ban, Henson has been holidaying in South Africa with celebrity girlfriend Charlotte Church.

But the controversy was reawakened when his ghost writer, journalist Graham Thomas, defended Henson's actions in an article for the England-Wales match programme last week.

"The tanned one was accused of betraying his fellow professionals," wrote Thomas.

"The point is that Henson has not broken any [unwritten] code because he never signed up to one.

"The idea that in writing a book Henson has shattered a trust placed on him is clearly nonsense.

Gavin Henson and Gareth Thomas
Henson and Thomas celebrate last year's win over England

"Honest opinion should be encouraged not frowned upon.

"Most players will continue to want to hide behind the bland soundbite, the opinionless opinion.

"If there are a few who dare to be different the supporters, sponsors and especially the media should all be extra grateful."

Wales captain Thomas apologised on Thursday for the stand-off at the team announcement in Cardiff 24 hours earlier, admitting their stance was a "mistake".

Team manager Alan Phillips was also keen to draw a line under the incident, and regretted it had been drawn out into the public domain.

He said: "We have previously not wanted to comment publicly on the issue and are disappointed that this private disagreement has come to public light.

"This incident is a one-off and it will not happen again. We are fully focussed on the forthcoming match against Scotland on Sunday and we will move on."




SEE ALSO
Frustrated Henson itching to play
14 Jan 06 |  Six Nations
Henson apologises to Wales team
07 Nov 05 |  Six Nations
Henson happy with WRU peace talks
24 Oct 05 |  Six Nations
Henson 'could harm Wales morale'
18 Oct 05 |  Six Nations
Henson is urged to focus on rugby
17 Oct 05 |  Six Nations
O'Driscoll 'gouge' stunned Henson
16 Oct 05 |  Six Nations
Robinson defends Lions management
11 Oct 05 |  Six Nations
Henson blasts Woodward's tactics
09 Oct 05 |  Six Nations


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