Henson can make Welsh a force to be reckoned with

Keen: London Welsh newboy Gavin Henson is determined to make his spell in west London a success

Keen: London Welsh newboy Gavin Henson is determined to make his spell in west London a success

First published in Sport Kingston Guardian: Photograph of the Author by , Sports editor

Gavin Henson’s desire for his story not to be one of wasted talent will help London Welsh become a force to be reckoned with in the Premiership, according to managing director John Taylor.

The former Wales international sealed a deal to play for the newly promoted Exiles on Monday and will be the club’s first choice fly half.

Veteran number 10 Gordon Ross, who led the team to the Championship title last season, is expected to take more of a back seat as he looks to develop a career in coaching.

Two-time Grand Slam winner Henson will rekindle his relationship with Welsh head coach Lyn Jones that brought the pair two Celtic League titles at the Ospreys.

Taylor and Jones met with the 30-year-old – who moved in to a new home in Richmond over last weekend – soon after the club’s elevation to the Premiership had been rubberstamped 10-days ago before the move was agreed in principle last Friday.

Henson’s recent record in club rugby with Saracens, Cardiff Blues and Toulon has been mixed at best, but the Old Deer Park director, who revealed there were more big name signings on the way, insisted his arrival was not a gamble.

“There is a bit a baggage that comes with Gavin, but on meeting him face to face he was hugely positive about the move,” he said.

“I don’t think it is a risk. Lyn knows him well and knows how to get the best out of him. He is a fantastic rugby player.

“We talked it through and he is very keen not to go down in history as somebody who failed to fulfil his potential.

“He has got two or three years of really top rugby left in him.

“There will be one or two more signings on the way in the next week or so, but signing Gavin sends a message out that we are taking the Premiership seriously and will be a force to be reckoned with.”

Henson’s arrival comes less than a fortnight after London Welsh’s place in the Premiership was confirmed.

Season tickets for the club’s home clashes at Oxford United’s Kassam Stadium are expected to go on sale this week, while there have already been inquiries about the availability of hospitality boxes at the club’s new home.

And Taylor admitted it has been all systems go on and off the field.

“When you get the news of promotion so late then a lot of the players you have on your shortlist of targets have already been snapped up,” he added.

“We kept six spaces open in the squad and if we were in the Premiership there was money to bring in some established talent.

“If we remained in the Championship those places would be filled by young players with potential.

“It has been very hectic, but we are getting there and we are only excited about playing at the next level.”

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