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Last Updated: Sunday, 2 March 2008, 17:06 GMT
Gatland wields power now - Henson
Gavin Henson says Wales' players now know who is in charge
Gavin Henson says Wales' players now know who is in charge
Gavin Henson says he is flourishing under the strict regime of new Wales head coach Warren Gatland.

The centre, 26, told Scrum V there is a marked difference in atmosphere within the squad from the pre-Gatland era.

"Before we had senior players who would voice-up a lot and you didn't know who to listen to, was it the senior players or the coaches?" Henson said.

"Sometimes the senior players would overrule the coaches and it didn't quite work."

There has long been rumour and speculation in Wales that under previous head coaches Gareth Jenkins and before him Mike Ruddock it was not always the coach who had the final say.

That situation has previously been denied, but Henson says that since taking up the reins in December it is Gatland and his coaching staff who always call the shots.

"You can see clearly now who the coaches are and who the players are," Henson added.

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"It's totally different now, you know where you stand with these coaches and that's the way the players react best.

"Everybody wants to be involved because we can see these are really good coaches and they're going to take us to some good places."

Henson says Wales' RBS Six Nations resurgence is just the start of things under Gatland.

"We can really feel it's going to be a good year, we felt like that before we met up for the England game."

Although Gatland - with a coaching staff that includes Shaun Edwards and Rob Howley - had a matter of weeks to prepare Wales for the Six Nations, they started with a bang.

The first match of the championship was at Twickenham, with Wales coming away with their first win there in 20 years as England self-destructed.

Home wins over Scotland and Italy mean that Wales go to Ireland next week with the Triple Crown there to be won.

Victory at Croke Park would see Wales face France in Cardiff on 15 March with a second Grand Slam in three years up for grabs.

Henson says the difference is down to Gatland, the former Wasps and Ireland coach, introducing new methods and most importantly a new attitude to training.

"I feel I'm learning every day and that's what you want as a player from a coach: to teach you new things and show you a way of playing which inspires you," Henson added.

"It's been refreshing, a different approach to other coaches I've had before and that's what you need.

"They're pretty strict and that's good, there's a lot of respect there and players are on the edge all the time, which is also good.

"I don't think any of us feel comfortable that we're going to be in the team the next week, I'm not sure if I'm going to get picked against Ireland yet.

My body still feels like it's 19, 20 years old, so there's good times ahead

Wales centre Gavin Henson

"I think you're one bad training session away from not getting picked for a game, that's the intensity the training sessions are.

"I made a mistake last week in training and got shouted at, it was my turn last week I think!

"We had a bad training day once and I heard Warren at lunchtime then speaking his mind, 'maybe I should change the team?'

"I thought, 'oh God, is he serious, just after training like?', so people are just working as hard as they can."

"Everyone can see that we're a good team, a good squad, we're going to win things and everyone wants to be in that starting team."

Henson's career has been stymied by injuries and he is only now showing signs that he is approaching the form that won him a place on the 2005 Lions tour to New Zealand.

The Ospreys centre says that he still has immense hunger and ambition to achieve great things in the game.

"There's obviously big games coming up, the Lions, I still haven't been to a World Cup - they are all still there," Henson said.

"I feel like I can play for a lot longer yet as well, my body still feels like it's 19, 20 years old, so there's good times ahead."

  • Watch Scrum V every Sunday on BBC Two Wales, 2W and the BBC website (also available on demand for seven days after transmission on the BBC iPlayer and the BBC website).



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