The new Marmite rugby player is Gav the Chav. Gavin Henson has the ability to split the public view. His public profile is closer to a footballer than it ever is a rugby player, even though he is a girlie back. For non-rugby followers, Gavtan was voted most promising young player in 1999. 10 years on we're still waiting for him to deliver on that promise. In 2003 he didn't go to the World Cup because he was seen to be a disruptive influence. In 2007 he was injured so understandably at 29 he knows that this World Cup is his last chance.
His main claim to fame is that he tackled an 18 year old, who was picked too early for England. An 18 year old who went onto play in a World Cup Final, making a telling break that could've altered the course of the game, if the TMO had given a different decision on whether a try had been scored or not. Still Gav the Chav tackled him, dependant on view, with a tackle that was borderline illegal. The other thing he did, was, in front of a home crowd, kick a penalty in which Wales beat England. Took balls to score it I admit, but the continued euphoria of a 2 point victory is frankly pathetic. It wasn't a drubbing. It was against a very poor England side with amateur selection and tactics. You won, get over it. Live on your past history, but it won't solve your current problems.
I read Richard Hill's autobiography. In it he complements many players but one he makes a point of singling out. I saw it with my own eyes three times. The first time was at the Wakes team hotel before the game with England. Other players willingly signed autographs for the young fans around. Laughed and joked with them, Gav ignored the lot, even when asked. The second time was in Wellington, at the Lions Hotel, July 2005. The Lions players were coming back from training and we were collecting autographs. Well G was with me collecting them with me telling him who to ask. (Yes I was that coward.) The players had forgotten their national rivalry and were mixing. A couple of Welsh players with an Irishmen and Scotsman, having been for a coffee. An Englishman walking with a Welshman to visit a tourist attraction. Then there was Gav. On his own with his own cronies, in a corner of the Hotel, not acknowledging the fans or his team mates. Richard Hill a quiet non-committal sort of player, commented on it in his autobiography, as did Dallaglio. Gav was and is above all that team stuff. His own book of that year celebrated his role in the Welsh Grand Slam. He won it for Wales with a tackle and a kick. His book did not go down wekll with his team mates.
The third time was a Heineken pool game between Sale and Ospreys. He warmed up on his own. He didn't need his team mates to motivate him, and he had no role in motivating them. I can't remember the result, but I think Sale won. The only thing I remember is that Gavtan's shorts were pressed and of a different style to the rest of the team. Probably designed specially to go with the tan, 'back, sack and crack' waxing, and hair gel. Poseur.
A University friend taught him Maths. In a previous year Rob Howley had also been taught by her. Rob took the trouble to tahnk her for his grade. Gav the chav didn't make friends with anyone. Didn't need to. He was going to be a superstar. He apparently was 'charmless' to quote her.
He disappeared from view for a while. Injured I think. He turned up at Tigers where he elbowed a prop in the face. Real cheap shot. Banned for 10 weeks. Straight back and not playing again. Wales struggled in that 6 Nations. His presence was missed.
By this time he was reproducing with the Chav queen of opera Charlotte Church. They met in Chip Alley. Class. At 20 she'd already got through 3 loser lovers, and seemed to be able to spot them a mile off, so no wonder Gav appeared on the horizon. Very quickly they had 2 babies making a family of 4 babies. Charlotte grew up, and realised two babies were enough and dumped him.
He was injured for a long time. Roughly 18 months. Instead of focussing as Jonny Wilkinson did on getting his mental attitude and body right, he played on Charlotte's boat for 6 months. He thanked Ospreys for their loyalty by asking to be released from his contract to play for Saracens, it being closer to his kids (who were still in Cardiff). This co-incided with him being on Strictly Come Dancing, where he managed to stay in a week longer than the self proclaimed carthorse Ann Widdecombe, and so couldn't play for Saracens until after Christmas. He then complained that he wasn't being picked in his best position and very soon left by mutual consent. Off to Toulon he went to resurrect his career. Game two, in which he played well, he decided to slag off Jonny Wilkinson. A player who was injured for 4 years and despite his high profile in the UK, especially Engalnd, manages to keep himself out of the papers. Jonny may not be the best player in the World, Gavtan, you are right, but he's achieved far more than you have, not only on the pitch, but also off it, with his strength of character to come back. And in an arguement, real rugby players would recognise that and defend him. Good team player there as well, (not) and guess what Toulon don't want you - you are too difficult to manage.
Still such is the need for creativity in Wales beyond an ageing Shane Williams, that the coach gives you another chance, even though you haven't got a club. So what is the obvious thing to do. Go on a stupid reality show again 'The Bachelor', where you will find your true love out of 25 potential desperate wannabe WAGs. And although Wales will be in World Cup training, in Wales, you will be in the South of France filming. Hope you find some charm soon, or I can see the girlies dropping out very quickly, other than the desperate. True Love would be playing in the only chance of a World Cup you have, focussing in on the only thing you are good at. I wonder what team spirit is like at the moment among those players who would walk on broken glass to play for their country, and have given up their summer to do their best.
In this blog, I am annoyed with myself for bothering with someone who has done nothing to warrant dicussion. He's a waste of air. He reminds me of Gascoigne or Best without the talent. At least they both received plaudits from players and fans, even if their characters were essentially flawed.
Mirror Man - Human League. because it is there where he sees his only true love.