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Page last updated at 16:06 GMT, Monday, 17 January 2011

Gavin Henson suffers Six Nations injury blow

Gavin Henson
Gavin Henson has targeted a Wales 2011 World Cup squad place

Gavin Henson's hopes of returning for Wales at the start of the Six Nations have been dashed by injury.

The Saracens centre tore a calf muscle against Leinster on Saturday and will be out for three weeks.

That rules Henson out of the opener with England on Friday, 4 February in Cardiff and puts him in doubt for the Scotland match that follows.

Wales are also sweating on the fitness of Ospreys tight-head prop Adam Jones, who damaged an elbow at London Irish.

Saracens confirmed Henson's injury, suffered in their 43-20 Heineken Cup defeat in Leinster, will keep him out for three weeks.

That would leave him without any game time to press his case for inclusion against Scotland on 12 February at Murrayfield.

However, Henson could return to action that day at Northampton for Sarries in the Premiership and face Leeds on 20 February at Vicarage Road.

Those encounters could give Henson the chance to impress Wales boss Warren Gatland ahead of their trip to Italy on 26 February and the games against Ireland and France that follow.

Tight-head Jones injured his left elbow in a 24th minute scrum and was replaced by Craig Mitchell at half-time at the Madejski Stadium as the Ospreys bowed out of the tournament in a 24-12 loss.

Ospreys head coach Sean Holley said: "Adam continued, but felt at half-time that he couldn't continue further because it was affecting his lifting and his scrummaging.

Adam Jones
Adam Jones is regarded as one of the best tight-head props in world rugby

"It's a ligament issue in the elbow."

Gatland, who will name Wales' Six Nations squad on 24 January, is already without loose-head prop Gethin Jenkins, who is out for three months after undergoing toe surgery, and suspended scrum-half Richie Rees for the entire Championship.

Ospreys centre Andrew Bishop's ankle ligament injury will keep him out for Wales' opening three matches but Gatland could also be without double Grand Slam winners Henson and Jones.

If Jones' injury puts him out of action for Wales, it would be a huge blow to a Welsh front row already without his Lions team-mate Jenkins.

The 29-year-old, who hopes to win his 69th Wales cap in their Six Nations opener with England in Cardiff on 4 February, had on-the-field treatment from Ospreys physio Chris Towers.

But after putting heavy strapping on his elbow, Jones continued to play on until half-time before leaving the field with his left arm in a sling.

Henson's hopes of making a Six Nations return after a two-year Wales exile suffered a potential blow as the 28-year-old went off in the 63rd minute in Leinster with a suspected calf injury.

Henson will undergo a scan with Saracens on his return from Dublin to determine how bad the injury is.

Henson had targeted a Wales return after ending a 20-month exile by joining Saracens in November from the Ospreys. And his hopes of rejoining the Wales squad seemed to have been boosted when Bishop was ruled out for part of the Six Nations on Friday.

But he was forced to leave the field as Leinster ensured their qualification for the quarter-finals, securing a bonus-point win in Pool Two.

Henson took part in pre-Six Nations Wales testing at the start of the month, his first involvement with Wales since his last international against Ireland in March 2009, as he targets a Test return - and a place in Wales' 2011 World Cup squad.

But even before leaving the fray in Dublin, he was running out of time to play in this year's Six Nations.

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see also
London Irish 24-12 Ospreys
16 Jan 11 |  Rugby Union
Leinster 43-20 Saracens
15 Jan 11 |  Leinster
Bishop blow for Ospreys & Wales
14 Jan 11 |  Welsh
Wales suffer Jenkins injury blow
10 Jan 11 |  Welsh
Blues turn down Rees ban appeal
13 Jan 11 |  Cardiff Blues
Saracens' Henson targets return
08 Nov 10 |  Saracens
'Delighted' Henson joins Saracens
28 Oct 10 |  Saracens
BBC Sport Wales coverage
03 Oct 11 |  Wales
RaboDirect Pro12
11 Apr 07 |  Rugby Union
Heineken Cup
11 Apr 07 |  Rugby Union
Anglo-Welsh Cup
11 Apr 07 |  Rugby Union

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