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Gavin Henson links up with Wales squad for testing

Gavin Henson
Henson won the last of his 31 Wales caps against Ireland in March 2009

Gavin Henson has taken the first step towards a possible return to the Wales team after linking up with the national squad for pre-Six Nations testing.

The Saracens centre had his first official involvement for almost two years with a conditioning assessment at their Vale of Glamorgan base on Monday.

Henson, 28, was one of more than 40 possible Wales call-ups who were asked by coach Warren Gatland to participate.

Wales' Six Nations squad is expected to be announced on Sunday, 16 January.

Welsh rugby's new head strength and conditioning coach Adam Beard oversaw the rigorous testing regime that included regular squad members and players that could earn a Wales call.

London Wasps number eight Andy Powell was also among those called for an assessment which includes speed drills, strength tests, sprints and conditioning trials including the monitoring of body fat percentage.

Double Grand Slam winner Henson, who won the last of his 31 caps against Ireland in March 2009, is determined to win a Wales recall and believes he needs just two games to prove he is worthy of an international call.

Scrum V discusses Wales squad options

Henson, who had been on self-imposed rugby exile, played his first game in more than 18 months when he made his Saracens debut coming off the bench at Wembley on Boxing Day following his move from the Ospreys.

The inside centre made his first start in their 28-22 defeat at Sale Sharks on Sunday, but played outside centre and was replaced after 53 minutes.

But Henson hopes to be included in Gatland's squad for Wales' Six Nations opener against England in Cardiff on Friday, 4 February and stake a claim for a place at the Rugby World Cup later this year.

Gatland will be without George North for the start of the Six Nations as the teenage Scarlets wing recovers from shoulder surgery.

Wales, who have won just two of their last 13 games, hope that wing Shane Williams (shoulder), fly-half Stephen Jones (knee ligaments) and full-back Lee Byrne (thumb) return to full fitness ahead of the Millennium Stadium showdown with the rejuvenated English.



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