Dragons play down talk of Gavin Henson arrival

Gavin Henson
Gavin Henson hopes to go to the World Cup in New Zealand with Wales

Assistant coach Rob Appleyard has played down talk that Newport Gwent Dragons will sign Wales centre Gavin Henson.

British and Irish Lion Henson, who is without a club since leaving French club Toulon, has been linked with a move to the Welsh region.

Appleyard revealed the Dragons have discussed signing Henson but said: "I don't believe there's any conversations going on between Gavin and the Dragons.

"At the moment I'm unaware that Gavin will be coming to the Dragons."

The Dragons have said they are looking to bolster their midfield options and were "interested" in signing the 29-year-old.

And 32-times capped Henson, who is in Wales' World Cup squad ahead of September's tournament, is in need of a club.

The Welsh Rugby Union, who hold a 50% share in the Rodney Parade-based region, have also talked with Dragons coach Darren Edwards about Henson's future.

"I think Darren has had long discussions about that," said Appleyard.

"And I know the Union have also had discussions about that.

"It is not good to see a player of his reputation not with a club but maybe he needs to put those performances in so there are more people lining up to sign him up."

Henson has played just a handful of games since returning from an 18-month rugby sabbatical in December, and was at three clubs last season before leaving Toulon in May.

The Dragons have made four additions so far this summer but not the big-name signing that Appleyard admits their fans may want.

Edwards could be without his best players for the start of the season as Lloyd Burns, Luke Charteris, Toby Faletau, Dan Lydiate, Jason Tovey and Aled Brew are in Wales' provisional World Cup squad.

"We haven't recruited what you would call a marquee signings," Appleyard admitted.

"We didn't go out and look for that sort of signing.

"There is a good team spirit in this club and we didn't want to ruin that by bringing a marquee signing in.

"What we've done is picked some good players who have played at a good level in the Championship in England or Welsh Premiership and looking at those players having the potential to be a regional player.

"The fans would probably like to see a big name come in and we still are talking to a few players that would add to the squad.

"We want to make sure we start the season in a good place.

"Having key players looking like they could go to the World Cup with Wales, we need to make sure the depth of our squad is very strong with our youngsters coming through."