RUGBY: No decision yet on Henson, says Bath coach Ford

Gavin Henson is tackled during today's quarter final

Gavin Henson is tackled during today's quarter final

First published in Sport

BATH have still to make a decision on whether Wales international Gavin Henson will be part of their plans for next season.

But Bath head coach Mike Ford praised Henson's attitude after he delivered a man-of-the-match peformance in a 39-7 Amlin Challenge Cup quarter-final victory over Recreation Ground visitors Brive.

Henson, 32, signed a one-year deal with the Aviva Premiership club last summer, joining them from London Welsh.

And in recent weeks he has been linked to joining RaboDirect PRO12 outfit Newport Gwent Dragons, whose coach is Henson's former boss at London Welsh and the Ospreys, Lyn Jones.

"We are talking to Gavin at the moment," Ford said.

"He has been brilliant in the respect that he is not rushing us to make a decision on him.

"He understands exactly what is going on. He has been as good as gold in terms of his attitude and his training. He prepares himself as well as any other player at Bath.

"We will make a decision on him when it's right. The quality of his performance today was good.

"He gives us strength and depth to our squad. He is a different player to Kyle (Eastmond) at 12, but you need those players so you can play different ways.

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"He can kick a ball a million miles, he can be a little bit more direct and he can kick goals for us. Now he is fully fit and he has got a run of games, it's looking well for the business end."

Bath ensured that this season's Amlin semi-finals will be an exclusively English concern after they brushed Brive aside on Sunday.

With Northampton and Harlequins already through to meet each other at Franklin's Gardens on April 25, Bath secured an away clash against Wasps or Gloucester in three weeks' time.

Wing Horacio Agulla led Bath's try spree by collecting a hat-trick in a comprehensive victory, while he was followed across the Brive line by Nick Abendanon, Semesa Rokoduguni and Micky Young, with fly-half George Ford kicking three conversions and a penalty.

Brive managed a second-half touchdown for number eight Kieran Murphy, with centre Thomas Laranjeira booting a touchline conversion, yet Bath had the game wrapped up by the halfway point.

It proved little more than a points procession for Bath as Brive arrived in the west country with a second team, opting to rest key players before tackling French Top 14 opponents Toulouse next weekend.

"We are pleased we are in the semi-finals, we are pleased with the first 45-50 minutes," Ford added.

"The game was won at half-time. The challenge for us was to be more ruthless in that second half, and we didn't quite achieve that.

"The positives are that we are in the semi-finals and a lot of players have got a lot of game time, which is good coming into the business end of the season.

"We will have a look at that last 20 or 30 minutes, where we lost momentum, I thought. The game got scrappy, but you have got to give credit to Brive. They never stopped competing.

"The sooner we can win silverware for this group of players, the better. It just gives them that belief to kick on to the next step."

MORE BATH RUGBY NEWS & REACTION AT WILTSHIRETIMES.CO.UK/SPORT AND IN FRIDAY'S WILTSHIRE TIMES

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