Gavin Won't Get My Shirt without a Fight, Warns Watkins

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Byline: By PHIL BLANCHE Western Mail

Scarlets star Matthew Watkins has warned Gavin Henson that he won't give up the Wales No 12 jersey lightly. Watkins impressed during the 28-18 victory over Scotland and his abundant energy was only slowed by a dead leg towards the end of the game.

But the 27-year-old is expected to be fit for the Ireland game in Lansdowne Road on Sunday week - and that will set a poser for the Wales selectors with Henson back in action this Friday for the Ospreys following a 51-day suspension imposed for elbowing.

Do they bring back the controversial Henson - a key figure in Wales' Grand Slam success last season - after so little rugby?

Or do they keep faith with the strong-running Watkins whose midfield partnership with outside-centre Hal Luscombe had its moments against Scotland?

'We'll have to see, won't we?' said Watkins, no doubt keener than anyone to discover the answers to those questions.

'It's up to the selectors to see if I've proved myself and Gavin's in good form. That's out of my hands. I would be really gutted to drop out because I've given my all.

'It's my jersey at the moment and it's up to the selectors. If they think Gav's the better option and they want something different for Ireland, that's fair enough, I'll take it.

'But I won't be giving the jersey up lightly.'

Though Henson is set to return on Celtic League duty, against the Borders at the Liberty Stadium this weekend, Watkins won't be tuning into the televised game.

'I don't think I'll watch it,' he said. 'I don't really watch too much rugby. I try to get away from it when I'm not playing.

'But I'll be happy to see Gav back, because if we have a player of his ability it can only strengthen the squad.'

On his partnership with Luscombe, below, Watkins - who should soon sort out his regional future by signing a new Scarlets' deal - added, 'I think me and Hal are working together really well. …