x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Henson departs Toulon to make room for Mason

Gavin Henson's troubled tenure with the French club Toulon will end with the season's closure.

Gavin Henson's short stay at the big-spending French club Toulon will come to an abrupt halt at the end of this season, club sources said yesterday.

The 29-year-old Welshman joined the Top 14 club in February but he recently served a one-week suspension for a nightclub brawl with teammates and had been waiting to discover whether he would be welcome back.

The club president Mourad Boudjellal said: "We do not want to blame anyone, but for next season we hope that team spirit is a priority."

Henson joined Toulon for an initial five months to cover for the injured Clement Marienval, hoping to convince coach Philippe Saint-Andre to give him a new two-year deal as well as revive his Wales career ahead of this year's World Cup.

He had encouragement early on when he was named in the Wales squad to face the Barbarians next week, but he hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons once again, and his off-field behaviour costing him any chance of a long-term deal at Toulon.

Henson last played for Wales in the 2009 Six Nations before personal problems and injuries prompted him to take unpaid leave from the Ospreys. The decision not to keep Henson follows the signing of Willie Mason, who is expected to play at centre.