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'Tough day at the office' - 39-year-old Gavin Henson played most of his league debut with a broken finger

By Josh Raisey
Gavin Henson is moving into the pub trade after being released by Dragons (Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images)

Former Grand Slam winner Gavin Henson has said he will get ‘more and more confident with each game,’ after dislocating his finger in his rugby league debut for League 1 side West Wales Raiders.

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The 39-year-old was making his bow in a new code against Championship side Widnes Vikings in round one of the Challenge Cup, and played on despite the injury to his finger.

Before the match on Sunday, the former Wales, and British and Irish Lions centre said he would have liked a few more games under his belt before such a big match, but said he was “excited”.

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“I’ve been playing rugby union for nearly 20 years,” he said. “So ideally for such a big game I would have loved to have played about six games before this one but I haven’t.

“I didn’t sleep very well, I don’t know whether that was because of Wales versus France last night. I felt pretty sick after that game last night. But I’m pretty excited.”

Henson’s new side fell to a 58-4 loss, but he remained confident that he will improve and that his baptism of fire will pay off. He said: “Tough day at the office. Broke my finger, dislocated it pretty early on, so that didn’t help my handling. I enjoyed it. It’s a good game. I think I’ll get more and more confident with each game. Obviously tough going up against a team like Widnes starting off, but hopefully when the league starts we’ll be better for that game and I will be better as well.”

This is the latest instalment in the varied career of the Welshman, which saw him play for a multitude of clubs in union. These included Llanelli, the Ospreys, Cardiff Blues and the Dragons in Wales; Saracens, London Welsh, Bath and Bristol in England, as well as a stint in France with Toulon.

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Jon 3 hours ago
Why Sam Cane's path to retirement is perfect for him and the All Blacks

> It would be best described as an elegant solution to what was potentially going to be a significant problem for new All Blacks coach Scott Robertson. It is a problem the mad population of New Zealand will have to cope with more and more as All Blacks are able to continue their careers in NZ post RWCs. It will not be a problem for coaches, who are always going to start a campaign with the captain for the next WC in mind. > Cane, despite his warrior spirit, his undoubted commitment to every team he played for and unforgettable heroics against Ireland in last year’s World Cup quarter-final, was never unanimously admired or respected within New Zealand while he was in the role. Neither was McCaw, he was considered far too passive a captain and then out of form until his last world cup where everyone opinions changed, just like they would have if Cane had won the WC. > It was never easy to see where Cane, or even if, he would fit into Robertson’s squad given the new coach will want to be building a new-look team with 2027 in mind. > Cane will win his selections on merit and come the end of the year, he’ll sign off, he hopes, with 100 caps and maybe even, at last, universal public appreciation for what was a special career. No, he won’t. Those returning from Japan have already earned the right to retain their jersey, it’s in their contract. Cane would have been playing against England if he was ready, and found it very hard to keep his place. Perform, and they keep it however. Very easy to see where Cane could have fit, very hard to see how he could have accomplished it choosing this year as his sabbatical instead of 2025, and that’s how it played out (though I assume we now know what when NZR said they were allowing him to move his sabbatical forward and return to NZ next year, they had actually agreed to simply select him for the All Blacks from overseas, without any chance he was going to play in NZ again). With a mammoth season of 15 All Black games they might as well get some value out of his years contract, though even with him being of equal character to Richie, I don’t think they should guarantee him his 100 caps. That’s not what the All Blacks should be about. He absolutely has to play winning football.

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