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Wales give Henson Six Nations squad recall

  • Story Highlights
  • Gavin Henson returns for Wales on bench against France in Paris on Friday
  • He has missed eight Tests since helping Principality win 2008 Six Nations
  • Wing Shane Williams recalled to starting side for clash at Stade de France
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(CNN) -- Gavin Henson will start his international comeback on the bench against France in Paris on Friday when Wales target a record-equalling ninth straight Six Nations win.

Gavin Henson is recalled to the Wales Six Nations squad against France after proving his fitness in training.

Gavin Henson is recalled to the Wales Six Nations squad against France after proving his fitness in training.

The Osprey's rugby union player has missed eight Tests since helping Wales clinch last season's championship with victory over the French in Cardiff.

Henson has now recovered from a calf muscle strain which sidelined him for recent successes over Scotland and England.

"We just needed two or three days for us to see where Gavin was in terms of fitness, sharpness and skill level. He trained really well last week," said head coach Warren Gatland who recalls wing Shane Williams to the starting side.

Henson replaces Ospreys colleague Andrew Bishop on the bench after Gatland retains the all-Cardiff Blues centre pairing of Tom Shanklin and Jamie Roberts.

His recall comes just over a week after Henson and three of his Wales colleagues -- Andy Powell, Jonathan Thomas and Rhys Thomas -- had to apologise after what the Welsh RU termed "varying degrees of regrettable conduct" while they were celebrating the win over England.

Williams, scorer of 45 tries in 62 Tests, has shaken off an ankle injury which kept him out of the England game, reclaiming the number 11 shirt from Mark Jones.

"A fit Shane Williams is a player any coach would want in their side so it was a natural decision for him to come in .... with no disrespect to Mark who did a good job for us against England," Gatland told PA Sport.

"France are one of the top sides in the championship and they are always going to be tough opposition, especially at home, and this is a must-win game for them if they are to keep their title hopes alive.

"We also know how tough it will be for them with a short six-day turnaround for many of their players who have featured in domestic rugby this weekend.

"We had a similar experience ourselves in between the Scotland and England games and found it hard going, so that is something we must try to take advantage of."

For the record, England's reeled off nine successive Six Nations wins between 2002 and 2004, while France (2003-2005) matched the feat -- both claiming Grand Slams in the process.

Wales: L Byrne (Ospreys); L Halfpenny (Cardiff Blues), T Shanklin (Cardiff Blues), J Roberts (Cardiff Blues), S Williams (Ospreys); S Jones (Scarlets), M Phillips (Ospreys); G Jenkins (Cardiff Blues), M Rees (Scarlets), A Jones (Ospreys), I Gough (Ospreys), A-W Jones (Ospreys), R Jones (Ospreys, captain), M Williams (Cardiff Blues), A Powell (Cardiff Blues).

Replacements: H Bennett (Ospreys), J Yapp (Cardiff Blues), L Charteris (Newport Gwent Dragons), D Jones (Scarlets), D Peel (Sale Sharks), J Hook (Ospreys), G Henson (Ospreys).

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