x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Old man Henson brought in from the cold

The recall for a 29 year old, whose rugby career is a monument to underachievement, is a surprise given Warren Gatland has made his name with Wales by being unafraid to give youth a chance.

Not so long ago, when Gavin Henson was first cutting his teeth in the world of television, he was sent to the Arctic to film a reality survival show.

It is difficult to imagine much of his time in television did anything but distract him from his rugby career, but that experience might have served him well.

Having been named in the Welsh 35-man extended training squad for the Six Nations, he is about to get frozen again.

Ahead of the tournament, Warren Gatland will be taking his squad to their regular training camp in Poland.

There the players speed their recovery, so as to increase the number of training sessions they can do, by spending time in Cryotherapy chambers - or "evil saunas" - in temperatures of -120°C. Given the potted path his playing career has followed in recent years, Henson is, of course, lucky he has not been frozen out of national team reckoning altogether.

The recall for a 29 year old, whose rugby career is a monument to underachievement, is a surprise given Gatland has made his name with Wales by being unafraid to give youth a chance.

His latest extended selection includes many such prodigies, such as Harry Robinson, an 18-year-old wing from the Cardiff Blues.

You might have thought Henson had burnt his credit through the escapades of his recent career, which has taken in three rugby clubs, and three television shows, in the past two years, but Gatland clearly still believes he has what it takes.

pradley@thenational.ae