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Last Updated: Wednesday, 14 November 2007, 11:15 GMT
Henson recalled by new-look Wales
Gavin Henson
Henson's fitness cost him a chance of making the World Cup
Wales caretaker coach Nigel Davies has recalled Gavin Henson to a 31-man squad for the Test against South Africa on 24 November at the Millennium Stadium.

But World Cup captain Gareth Thomas misses out, along with Will James.

Chris Horsman, Kevin Morgan and Dafydd James are all injured, while Martyn Williams has retired from Test rugby.

Morgan Stoddart, Tom James, Lee Byrne, prop Rhys Thomas, Luke Charteris and Robin Sowden-Taylor come in, while South Africa have lost Victor Matfield.


The World Cup-winning lock has been released due to personal commitments.

The Wales squad will be cut to 24 after this weekend's Heineken Cup games.

The Springboks match will be Davies' only game in charge before new Wales coach Warren Gatland takes over in December.

Henson is one of the players who is in the category of needing a big game this weekend to convince us

Nigel Davies

"We'll identify the squad for the selection of the final 24 after the last Heineken Cup game by the Welsh regions on Saturday evening," Davies told BBC Sport Wales.

"This announcement is designed to let the players know they are in with a chance and we will be looking for them to react positively in the pressure-cooker atmosphere of the Heineken Cup.

"Henson is one of the players who is in the category of needing a big game this weekend to convince us he is ready to return to the international arena.

"He has been showing encouraging signs for the Ospreys and it will be a tough test for him at Gloucester playing against Mike Tindall and Anthony Allen.

"We have to remember that this is a squad for a one-off Test, not a series.

"We still need a certain amount of experience to take on a team of the calibre of South Africa, and with Martyn Williams retiring, we felt we needed to retain the unique talents and physicality of Colin Charvis within the group."

Gareth Thomas
Gareth Thomas is still making himself available to Wales, but we have to balance that with the need to move forward

Nigel Davies

Davies paid tribute to 100-cap man Thomas, who has not ruled himself out of future international consideration.

"Gareth is still making himself available to Wales, but we have to balance that with the need to move forward," said Davies.

"He's a very influential character who has been fabulous for Wales, but [new captain] Gethin Jenkins needs a bit of space to exert his own personality on the team."

Hot selection debates surround the full-back spot, with Byrne and youngster Stoddart - the only uncapped man in the squad - in outstanding form.

Up front, a long-term successor is needed for Martyn Williams at open-side flanker, with Sowden-Taylor likely to be the favourite, although Charvis could delay his introduction to the team.

In-form Dragons prop Rhys Thomas could claim the tight-head shirt ahead of Adam Jones.

Full Wales training squad:

Backs: Lee Byrne (Ospreys), Morgan Stoddart (Scarlets), Mark Jones (Scarlets), Shane Williams (Ospreys), Tom James (Blues), Tom Shanklin (Blues), Jamie Robinson (Blues), Gavin Henson (Ospreys), Sonny Parker (Ospreys), Stephen Jones (Scarlets), James Hook (Ospreys), Ceri Sweeney (Dragons), Michael Phillips (Ospreys), Dwayne Peel (Scarlets), Gareth Cooper (Gloucester)

Forwards: Jonathan Thomas (Ospreys), Alix Popham (Scarlets), Colin Charvis (Dragons), Robin Sowden-Taylor (Blues), Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys), Ian Evans (Ospreys), Michael Owen (Dragons), Luke Charteris (Dragons), Ian Gough (Ospreys), Rhys Thomas (Dragons), Adam Jones (Ospreys), Huw Bennett (Ospreys), Matthew Rees (Scarlets), T Rhys Thomas (Blues), Gethin Jenkins (Blues, capt), Duncan Jones (Ospreys)

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