Wales monitor Gavin Henson's return for Cardiff Blues

Gavin Henson
Gavin Henson has won 33 caps since his Wales debut against Japan in 2003

Gavin Henson's hopes of playing in his first Six Nations Championship game for three years have been boosted by his recovery from a calf problem.

The Cardiff Blues back was an 11th hour withdrawal from the team which lost to Pro12 leaders Leinster on Saturday, because of a minor calf strain.

But he is now fit to face London Irish in the Heineken Cup on Saturday.

Henson, 29, who has played twice since dislocating a wrist against England in August, is hoping for a Wales recall.

The 2005 British and Irish Lion wants to impress Wales coach Warren Gatland in the Blues' final Heineken Cup Pool Two fixtures against the Exiles and Racing Metro ahead of Wales' Six Nations squad announcement on 22 January.

Gatland spoke about Henson's possible Six Nations inclusion before the double Grand Slam winner suffered his latest injury setback.

"Hopefully he will not pick up any more injuries in the next couple of weeks," Gatland told the Western Mail.

"He gives us options not just in the midfield but we know he has played at full-back and he can potentially play at 10 as well.

"We know what a quality player he has been in the past when he is fit."

Wales are already without first-choice second rowers Luke Charteris (wrist) and Alun Wyn Jones (toe) for the start of their Six Nations campaign, both having undergone surgery, although Ospreys lock Jones could return in the middle of the tournament.

Lock Bradley Davies is also a Wales injury concern after being withdrawn from the Blues team to face Leinster because of a back problem.

will miss Blues' trip to London Irish but the Lions centre is expected to be fit for the European visit of French side Racing Metro on 22 January and Wales' Six Nations opener in Dublin on 5 February.

Henson's last Six Nations appearance was in Wales's 17-15 defeat to Ireland in Cardiff in March 2009, when the Irish won their first Grand Slam in 61 years.

It was the first time in 12 starts that Henson, who memorably kicked a last-gasp penalty to beat England in 2005 on his Six Nations debut, had been on the losing side in a Six Nations fixture.

The 33-cap Welshman played his first Test for almost two and a half years in Wales' 19-9 pre-World Cup win over England in August after returning from a high-profile rugby sabbatical.

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