Henson: Why I Want to Become the New Campo

The Evening Standard (London, England), October 25, 2005 | Go to article overview

Henson: Why I Want to Become the New Campo


Byline: CHRIS JONES

DAVID CAMPESE has a lot to answer for. The former Australian rugby star blazed a try-scoring path across the world while criticising almost everyone in the game.

So it should come as no surprise to discover that Gavin Henson has chosen Campese as his rugby inspiration for a book that has broken new ground for attacking friend and foe. It was launched yesterday and, if the initial reaction is anything to go by, we may soon be longing for the return of the big-mouthed Australian.

Welshman Henson could be the most controversial player to ever lace up a pair of rugby boots. He offers no excuses for revealing what really goes on during matches and if opponents don't like what's been remembered, then tough. "I try to make rugby exciting," he said, without making it sound a brazen boast. "I do get bored listening to players saying the same old thing and its refreshing to hear someone speaking the truth. I am not bright enough to give long interview answers - I just say what's on my mind. I will piss people off - but that's life!

"I always liked David Campese and he was never afraid of making comments. He was good for the sport - wasn't he?

Campese was the most exciting player ever."

Dealing with the 23-year-old is both refreshing and disconcerting. You welcome his wartsandall honesty, but seriously question the wisdom of publicly bridges so early in a career that really hasn't achieved anything substantial on the pitch.

He is uniquely talented, uniquely coiffured and uniquely able to call singing star Charlotte Church his woman. However, the trail he is blazing is littered with potential problems and, after listening to Henson justify everything he has done and will do in the future, you fear for his safety.

It will be remarkable if Henson avoids the flailing boots and fists of the legion of players who will be wound up by what he has revealed.

The only rugby star to ever admit he shaves his legs is due back on the pitch in December against Bristol after completing his rehabilitation from a groin injury that troubled him throughout an unhappy tour with the Lions in New Zealand.

It is remarkable that he is hogging the rugby headlines even though he hasn't played a game all season. …

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