Gavin Henson sacked by Cardiff Blues and banned by Flybe

Henson appeared as a replacement against Glasgow in what turned out to be his last game for the Blues

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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".

Start Quote

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

End Quote Richard Holland Chief executive, Cardiff Blues

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 photo on Twitter of her and Henson at Glasgow Airport 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.

HENSON IN THE HEADLINES

  • October 2005: Apologises to Wales teammates angered by comments in his book My Grand Slam Year
  • December 2005: Serves seven-week ban for elbowing Leicester prop Alex Moreno in a Heineken Cup game against the Ospreys
  • October 2006: Banned from driving for a month after he was caught speeding at 110mph on the M4
  • December 2007: Charged with disorderly conduct on a train after helping the Ospreys beat Harlequins in the Anglo-Welsh Cup - the case is later dropped for insufficient evidence
  • February 2009: Cautioned by police investigating an alleged assault in Cardiff city centre the day after Wales beat England in the Six Nations
  • March 2010: Flies to the Arctic Circle to take part in reality TV show 71 Degrees North while on unpaid leave from the Ospreys - Henson claims he risked his life "seven or eight times" during the filming
  • June 2010: Splits from long term partner Charlotte Church after five years together and six weeks after getting engaged
  • September 2010: Wales players reportedly angry after Henson is unveiled as poster boy for new Wales kit, despite not having played any rugby for more than a year
  • September 2010: Unveiled as a participant in BBC TV series Strictly Come Dancing
  • October 2010: Leaves the Ospreys for London-based Saracens, after saying he wants to be near his children
  • February 2011: Signs for French club Toulon after playing just four times for Saracens
  • April 2011: Suspended for a week by Toulon after an altercation with teammates in a night club
  • June 2011: Films reality TV series The Bachelor after selection for Rugby World Cup squad - WRU says he was committed to the show before squad was named

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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