Welsh Rugby Union urged to 'manage' Gavin Henson

Gavin Henson
Henson joined Toulon in February following a brief spell with Saracens

Former England coach Dick Best has urged the Welsh Rugby Union to demand that Gavin Henson play under their jurisdiction at one of Wales' regions.

Henson will discover if he has a future with French club Toulon on Friday after breaching their disciplinary code.

Best, who is now an agent, believes the WRU should take responsibility to keep a close eye on the troubled star.

"If I were the Welsh Rugby Union I'd bring him under the auspices of the WRU," he told the BBC's Scrum V Radio.

"Make him play for whoever, Cardiff or Dragons or whoever, and monitor him and just say 'listen, we're going to give you one last chance'."

The 29-year-old centre was suspended for one week on 18 April by Toulon after breaking club rules, and met officials of the Top 14 side on Wednesday.

Henson will discover his Toulon fate on Friday after the French giants admitted in a statement last week that the 31-times capped Wales international did not "respect the code of good behaviour defined by the club".

Henson, who scored a try on his Toulon debut against Stade Francais two weeks ago, had played only two games since joining the big-spending club in February before he was suspended following a nightclub incident.

And Toulon president Mourad Boudjellal had said Henson was "difficult to manage."

Henson, along with another troubled Wales star Andy Powell, have been invited to a meeting by the Welsh Rugby Union to discuss their apparent misdemeanours.

"Following recent reported incidents, WRU group chief executive Roger Lewis and Wales head coach Warren Gatland have requested meetings with Gavin Henson and Andy Powell over the course of the coming weeks," a WRU statement said.

"Until those meetings take place there will be no further comment from the WRU."

And Best, who is an agent to former British and Irish Lions coach Sir Ian McGeechan, believes now is the time for the WRU to take the lead over Henson's future.

"I don't think Wales can afford to be without people of the calibre of Gavin Henson," added Best.

"If he's available and he wants to play then the WRU should take Henson under their umbrella and manage him.

"It's quite clear he needs very careful management and he needs people to work with him.

"He's a world class player. That's why Toulon took him on in the first place and that's why Saracens were interested in him.

"Yes, he does have baggage, we all have baggage. We really should be bending over backwards to try and help him."

Wales assistant coach Rob Howley admitted it was "very likely" that versatile back Henson - who can play full-back, centre or fly-half - would feature for his country in their World Cup warm-ups ahead of the start of the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand, which starts in September.