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Last Updated: Monday, 13 September, 2004, 12:21 GMT 13:21 UK
Henson reveals Hansen rift
Gavin Henson
I'm stronger now and I'm ready for a big season
Gavin Henson has told of his hurt at being left out of Wales' World Cup squad by former coach Steve Hansen.

In an interview with BBC Wales Scrum V, Henson tells of a bitter argument with the Kiwi after being told he was not wanted for the 2003 tournament.

"I couldn't believe it, I thought I'd done enough but he said he was taking Garan Evans instead," Henson said.

"I said a few things I shouldn't have, but he's gone now so that's good and it's nice to see a Welshman in charge."

Henson revealed he is far more comfortable under the new international regime of Mike Ruddock and has benefited from the confidence shown in him.

One plus point left over from the Hansen era is the retention of skills coach Scott Johnson, and Henson says his learning curve under "the most intelligent man in rugby" has been steep.

Henson - who turned in a man-of-the-match performance as his Neath-Swansea Ospreys beat the Llanelli Scarlets on Friday night - believes the future is now bright.

The 22-year-old says he has benefited from the move to regional rugby and credits Ospreys head coach Lyn Jones and assistant Sean Holley for bringing him through a difficult period.

Gavin Henson
It's a great feeling playing rugby, when I'm starting I'm just so excited for that game

As well as the falling out with Hansen, Henson admitted that the financial problems that befell his former club Swansea had a detrimental effect.

"I don't think I was handled right by either my club (Swansea) or by the national set-up at the time," Henson added.

"It was a difficult time but I had a good season last year for the Ospreys and came through at the end of the season.

"I think I'm stronger now and I'm ready for a big season."

Henson can play at either full-back, where he started Friday night for the Ospreys, fly-half, where he finished the match, or inside centre, where many people believe his eventual Wales position will be.

"I don't really know what my best position is to be honest, I'm comfortable in all three," Henson said.

Pace, vision, strength and a huge kick are parts of an overall package that has at times been accused of being aloof and lacking concentration.

But Henson says that perception is wrong, caused by an almost crippling shyness off the field that should not be confused with his dedication on it.

"It's a great feeling playing rugby," Henson added. "Every week there's a game I'm hoping to start, and when I'm starting I'm just so excited for that game."





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