Henson and the other ten Wales players on this British & Irish Lions tour were described as 'fantastic tourists' by Woodward after Saturday's 30-19 defeat of Otago in Dunedin, but after claiming that Ruddock's Grand Slammers were a 'brilliant bunch of players' he duly omitted five of the eleven from Saturday's Test; with a sixth, Shane Williams, also likely to miss out despite scoring a try in the victory at Carisbrook.
The five - Henson, Tom Shanklin, Michael Owen, Martyn Williams and Gareth Cooper - have all been included in Tuesday's game against Southland in Invercargill, and that means they will sit out Saturday's match against the All Blacks at the Jade Stadium. It also means that the likely make up of the Test side will be ten English, no Scottish, three Welsh and two Irish.
Woodward said: "We have a strong squad, and the strength of the side picked for Southland shows that. I have made clear that the players selected for Southland will not feature in the first Test, but that does not mean they do not have the opportunity to play in the second and third Tests.
"That is underlined by the history of Lions tours down the years. I want these players to keep challenging for Test places as the Tour goes on by their performance on Tuesday. Another lesson of Lions tours is that where they have been successful, it has been when the unity of the squad has been strong. If we win the Test series, it will not just be a win for the players out on the pitch, but for the whole squad. All firty-five have all been fantastic in helping to create the environment we need to win."
Ian McGeechan said: "I have been on many tours, as a player and coach, and when we have won, the people to thank have, as often as not, been the people who did not play in Tests but who helped create a winning environment for those who did.
"This is a terrific group of players and they have worked very hard to create that winning environment. What is more, there will be players selected for Southland who without doubt will feature in future Tests. The mood in the squad is very positive. The excitement is growing. The next step is to win against Southland."
Michael Owen has been named captain of the side and said: "It is an honour to be selected as captain again, the spirit of the squad is fantastic. As we saw with the game against Otago, we all want to keep the pressure on and push for the test places."
Henson said: "Obviously everyone wants to play in the Tests, so there is bound to be some disappointment at not being selected for the first Test on Saturday, but competition was always going to be fierce, and this is a squad full of world-class players. The challenge for me now is to play to the best of my ability when selected, keep challenging, and keep learning from the experience."
British & Irish Lions team v Southland
M Owen (capt)