Gavin Henson was today withdrawn from the Wales squad set to tour Argentina this summer under new coach Gareth Jenkins - in order for him to spend the off-season getting himself fully fit...
Henson now falls into the category of senior Welsh players missing the tour to concentrate on a full pre-season's training after stating "I need to get my body back into the shape it was before last year's injury".
"After close consultation with Gavin we have concluded as a management group that it is in the player's best interests to stay at home and work on his conditioning this summer, in order to ensure that he is fully fit for a busy season ahead of the World Cup," said Jenkins, whose young Wales side will play two Tests against the Pumas during the three week tour.
"There is an injury component to deal with - a long term troublesome groin which needs managing - but we didn't feel that problem was sufficient to rule him out of the tour and initially decided that the player would benefit from game-time.
"However, after working closely with Gavin in training this week and talking to him and his regional coaches, we have taken the collective decision that he will be more valuable to us next season after a summer off to work on conditioning and to bring his speed and weight back up to his optimum levels.
"Gavin doesn't currently feel that he is at his 'fighting weight' and we have taken a long term view of the situation and believe we have reached a conclusion that will benefit both the team and the player in the end."
Wales team physio Mark Davies and fitness coach Mark Bennett will now liaise directly with Henson's management team at regional level to ensure the player has a full and comprehensive programme of both conditioning and rest throughout June, July and August.
"It is now extremely important for Gavin to spend the time he has been given getting himself right for next season and we will ensure we have the correct structures in place, through our fitness coaches and in consultation with the Ospreys, to achieve that aim," added Jenkins.
A replacement centre is likely to be added to the squad in the next couple of days after the Wales management team have assessed their options in this position.
"I don't feel quite ready for international rugby at the moment, my speed times are down on what they were and I prefer my playing weight to be heavier than it currently is," added Henson.
"Whilst I obviously don't want to let my team-mates or Wales fans down I have talked closely with Gareth, and the rest of the management team, and we have all agreed that the best thing for me to be doing at the moment is getting my body back into the shape it was before the groin injury last year."
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