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Page last updated at 12:19 GMT, Saturday, 4 April 2009 13:19 UK

Henson not fit for Lions - Davies

Gavin Henson is helped by the Ospreys medical staff after injuring his ankle
Gavin Henson is helped by the Ospreys medical staff after injuring his ankle

Former Wales dual-code star Jonathan Davies says that Gavin Henson does not deserve a place on this summer's Lions tour to South Africa.

But Davies has sympathy for Henson, who has endured an injury-ravaged season.

The BBC pundit also says that rugby has a problem of players lacking "mental toughness" and being "pampered".

"Gavin Henson... hasn't played enough and if he doesn't play, doesn't deserve to go on the Lions tour. End of story," Davies said on the Scrum V programme.

Lions coach Ian McGeechan names his party to tour world champions South Africa on 21 April.

But Henson is out until early May after damaging ligaments in his right ankle in the Ospreys' 17-0 EDF Energy Cup semi-final loss to Gloucester at the Ricoh Arena last weekend.

That means the 27-year-old, who was selected for the last Lions tour to New Zealand, will have no chance of making a late impression on the pitch to persuade McGeechan to take him.

Henson sat out Wales' autumn series because of an Achilles problem and then missed the start of their Six Nations Grand Slam defence with a calf injury.

In a frank and honest interview on Wednesday, Henson said that his latest injury had caused him to consider his rugby future and admitted he would be a "liability" for the Lions.

The only game you're 100% fit is your first ever rugby match

Jonathan Davies

"We all know what he (Henson) can do but he doesn't do it, he knows what he can do but unfortunately he gets a lot of injuries," Davies added.

"On his day, yes, he's up there, he should go. At the moment he shouldn't go because he's taking someone else's place who's worthy of going.

"A lot of players lack mental toughness in this environment, they're pampered a little bit and I think they've gone soft.

"Being a professional player you want to play... I remember someone like (former England captain) Lawrence Dallaglio saying, 'Oh yeah, you train like Tarzan, play like Jane', okay and that sometimes is true you know.


"You have to play and to get into form you have to find that form on the field.

"Every rugby player who has played the game, the only game... you're 100% fit is your first ever rugby match.

"After that you have to have a mental toughness to go through it and to play for yourself and to play for your team and I think that is a slight problem in Welsh rugby and it comes from people on the top.

"And that's why Wales have been successful, because you have people like (Wales defence coach) Shaun Edwards who has been tough - mentally tough, not physically tough - throughout his career.

"He instils that and (Wales coach) Warren Gatland is very, very similar."

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see also
Henson considering rugby future
01 Apr 09 |  Ospreys
Henson cautioned after night out
01 Apr 09 |  Wales
Lions fears for injured star trio
28 Mar 09 |  Rugby Union
Ulster 13-16 Ospreys
03 Apr 09 |  Ulster
Ospreys display comes under fire
30 Mar 09 |  Rugby Union
Gloucester 17-0 Ospreys
28 Mar 09 |  Rugby Union
Ospreys hit by Byrne injury blow
25 Mar 09 |  Ospreys
Henson's pub behaviour questioned
17 Feb 09 |  Wales
Second child puts Henson on hold
12 Dec 08 |  Rugby Union
2009 Lions: Squad & results
09 Jul 09 |  Rugby Union
Rugby union on the BBC
05 Feb 09 |  Rugby Union
BBC Sport Wales coverage
03 Oct 11 |  Wales

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