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Page last updated at 11:04 GMT, Tuesday, 21 October 2008 12:04 UK

Henson selected for autumn Tests

Gavin Henson (left) with the Wales squad
Henson has played just one match this season after injury and suspension

Wales have included Gavin Henson in a 32-man squad for the autumn Tests.

The centre has played just once this season after an ankle injury in April, then a two-match Ospreys ban imposed for an internal disciplinary matter.

Uncapped quintet Eifion Roberts (Sale), Dan Biggar (Ospreys), Martin Roberts (Scarlets), Andy Powell and Leigh Halfpenny (both Blues) win call-ups.

Dwayne Peel returns after injury, but there is no recall for the in-form Jamie Robinson or Michael Owen.

Wales have been hit by injuries to Jonathan Thomas and Gareth Delve in the back row, prompting speculation that 2005 Grand Slam captain Owen - revitalised by a summer move to Saracens - would be called by coach Warren Gatland.

Henson is 'world class' - Gatland

Luke Charteris is rewarded for his fine form at the Dragons but Colin Charvis was not considered, while the selectors have kept faith with Dafydd Jones and recalled Robin Sowden-Taylor after injury.

Wales' testing autumn series at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium opens against South Africa on 8 November, before the visits of Canada, New Zealand and Australia on successive weekends.

Gatland says he had no hesitation in selecting Henson, who is set to return for the Ospreys in Sunday's EDF Energy Cup game with Worcester.

"Gavin was outstanding for us during the Six Nations last year," said the coach, who can point to the fact that Wales have won 15 of the 21 games that Henson has started for his country.

606: DEBATE
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"He is one of our world-class players, and, when fit, he is always going to be in our thoughts.

"This squad is larger than I would normally select, and we may reduce it after we get the first two games under our belts.

"But the current size reflects the fact that we could be asking some players to turn out three times in the space of 13 days.

"The Ospreys players, for example, are currently due to play for their region on the Sunday before the South Africa game, and with the Canada match coming only six days later, we will need to use our squad correctly."


Backs: M Stoddart (Scarlets), L Byrne (Ospreys), L Halfpenny (Cardiff Blues), M Jones (Scarlets), S Williams (Ospreys), G Henson (Ospreys), T Shanklin (Cardiff Blues), A Bishop (Ospreys), J Roberts (Cardiff Blues), D Biggar (Ospreys), J Hook (Ospreys), S Jones (Scarlets), M Roberts (Scarlets), D Peel (Sale Sharks), G Cooper (Gloucester).

Forwards: G Jenkins (Cardiff Blues), D Jones (Ospreys), A Jones (Ospreys), E Roberts (Sale Sharks), R Thomas (Newport Gwent Dragons), H Bennett (Ospreys), M Rees (Scarlets), R Hibbard (Ospreys), AW Jones (Ospreys), I Gough (Ospreys), I Evans (Ospreys), L Charteris (Newport Gwent Dragons), D Jones (Scarlets), A Powell (Cardiff Blues), M Williams (Cardiff Blues), R Sowden-Taylor (Cardiff Blues), R Jones (Ospreys, capt).

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see also
Wales' rugby fixtures
26 Jun 07 |  Welsh
Wales rugby results archive
15 Oct 03 |  Welsh
Henson accepts ban from Ospreys
10 Oct 08 |  Ospreys
Mighty Boks: South African rugby
01 Oct 08 |  Rugby Union
Northern rocks: Canadian rugby
27 Sep 06 |  Rugby Union
All Blacks magic: New Zealand rugby
27 Sep 06 |  Rugby Union
Wallaby wonders: Aussie rugby
26 Apr 07 |  Rugby Union
BBC Sport Wales coverage
23 Mar 08 |  Wales
Coming up next on Scrum V...
04 Sep 08 |  Welsh


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