Wales

Gavin Henson sacked by Cardiff Blues and banned by Flybe

  • 2 April 2012
  • From the section Wales

Wales rugby international Gavin Henson has been sacked by the Cardiff Blues after his drunken antics on a plane.

Henson has also been barred for six months by Flybe, the airline which flew the team back from a game in Glasgow.

Blues said ending his contract "sends out a clear message that behaviour like that will not be tolerated".

Former Wales captain Jonathan Davies said: "I think it's a responsibility to the sponsors more than anything in this economic climate."

He told BBC Radio Wales: "Unfortunately in things like this, it is Gavin Henson and it's going to make the papers.

"For that reason alone you've got to think they have to deal in the best interests of the club and supporters."

Speaking before the sacking, fellow BBC pundit Brian Moore said many clubs would want the 30-year-old to "go away".

The former British Lions and England international said: "If he is given a chance it's highly unlikely to be someone, or some team, that is at the top of their league."

Moore, who wrote an article on Henson for the Daily Telegraph after the debacle, said he was "not interested" in Henson anymore until he did something "worthwhile in a rugby jersey".

He added that many people would now think: "Go away, Gav".

Richard Holland, chief executive of the Blues, said the region's management "discussed the matter at length but have acted swiftly since the incident occurred on Saturday morning."

In a statement, he said: "Gavin admitted himself that his behaviour was totally unacceptable and the immediate termination of his contract sends out a clear message that behaviour like that will not be tolerated at the Blues."

'Talented player'

Molly Caton posted this Twitter photo of her and Henson at Glasgow Airport

"We have a duty to our supporters and sponsors to protect the good name of Cardiff Blues and those associated with our brand.

"Gavin Henson is obviously a talented rugby player and it's unfortunate that his career at the Blues has ended this way.

"However, we would like to thank him for his service and wish him the best of luck with his future career."

Flybe investigated Henson's behaviour on the 90-minute flight, which followed the Blues' defeat against Glasgow on Friday.

BBC Wales understands that Henson threw ice cubes around the cabin and that some of the cabin crew refused to serve him.

Blues chief executive Richard Holland then made him apologise personally to the flight attendants concerned.

An airline spokesman said: "The safety of our passengers and staff is Flybe's number one priority and as such the airline has a zero tolerance attitude to unruly behaviour on board our aircraft.

"We are grateful for Mr Henson's apology following Saturday's flight from Glasgow to Cardiff.

"However, in line with company policy, we have written to him, informing him that he will be banned from Flybe services for a period of six months."

On Sunday, Henson had issued an apology which said: "I have let my teammates, coaches, management, sponsors and indeed my family down with my actions.

"Drinking on that plane was inexcusable and I know that I must take responsibility for it."

He said: "I admit I had been out drinking in Glasgow following our game and had stupidly carried on drinking on the flight, for which I am truly embarrassed about.

"I can see that drinking and behaving inappropriately on that flight as a professional sportsman at 7am has caused offence to members of the public, the Flybe Airline staff and passengers.

"I also accept that in the light of this I need to learn from it and ensure this does not happen again.

"I would like to publicly apologise for drinking on that flight which is inappropriate behaviour."

Henson played eight times for the Blues, but failed to score a try.

Lyn Jones, his former coach at the Ospreys, said the player had made mistakes but thought the Blues were harsh to sack him.

"He's a gentleman, he's very polite and - make no bones - he's no different to lots of young rugby players," he told the BBC.

"They could have dealt with it in several ways. They could have even invited Gavin in today to explain himself and his mitigation but he wasn't invited in - he was sacked on the spot.

"They could have had a one-match ban, they could have fined him, they could have done several things but they decided to make an example of him."

Henson has played 33 times for Wales, winning two Six Nations Grand Slams. His last international appearance was against England in August, but his hopes of playing in the World Cup were ended by a wrist injury.

Henson is the former partner of singer and TV host Charlotte Church, and they have two children.

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