Wales coach warns troubled players


CARDIFF, United Kingdom, May 6 – Wales coach Warren Gatland delivered a thinly-veiled warning to Gavin Henson and Andy Powell after the pair's Test prospects suffered a setback as a result of off-field incidents.

Wales play the Barbarians in Cardiff on June 4 as part of their preparations for the World Cup in New Zealand later this year with many fans wondering if Henson and Powell have already blown their chances of squad selection.

Talented centre Henson, who last played for Wales two years ago, was reinstated by French side Toulon after he was suspended following a nightclub incident last month where he was reported to have launched an alcohol-fuelled diatribe against club colleague and England great Jonny Wilkinson.

Powell was not so fortunate, the back-row forward leaving English Premiership side Wasps "by mutual consent" this week having been suspended following his part in a brawl in a London pub.

"For us, it is just about working with the players and educating these young men that are filled with testosterone that it’s about learning from situations," Gatland told BBC Radio Wales.

"We’ve all been to a bar before and walked through the door and gone, ‘This is not great, let’s finish our beer and get out of here’.

"There has been an altercation with Gavin with some team-mates in France, and Andy at Wasps," the New Zealander added.

"The last two campaigns, as a squad, after internationals the players haven’t gone out at all. We are trying to reduce those potential situations," explained Gatland, a former coach of Ireland and Wasps.

"We have got 90-95 percent of the squad who are fantastic and never get themselves into situations and there are no issues at all.

"We have got one or two individuals we are working with closely. I know a couple of the players in the squad have identified there are a couple of problems they may have or a couple of issues, and they are trying to get some advice and some help.

"I think that is a responsible approach, and we have got to keep working with them.

"You have got to be careful. You can’t rule with an iron fist because you are going to end up where you get groups sneaking off and going quietly behind everyone’s back.

"We don’t want that to happen. We want them to be working with us, training hard and performing well, but also being responsible and being able to go out quietly and enjoy themselves."