Gifted, genius, magician but also unmanageable, unpredictable and above all a huge waste, Gavin Henson probably did not have the career he could (or should?) have had. The Welsh international, who played for Cardiff, Bristol and Bath, among others, notably had a short stint with Toulon in 2011.

For Le Figaro, Mourad Boudjellal, former president of the Toulon club (2006-2020) recounted his arrival on the Rade side. “An agent told me about it. I took advantage of a void where no one wanted to sign him. It wasn’t expensive. I told myself that if he became the player he was again, we were going to get a good deal. It was a bet. We had lunch together in Toulon before. I was surprised because, in this restaurant, everyone recognized him. He had left his mark on rugby.”

Before delivering an astonishing anecdote: “When I signed him in 2011, there was a very important player at the club who told me that if I signed him, he would leave. And he wasn’t the smallest player… He told me: “If he signs, I’ll leave Toulon…”. I insist on the fact that he was not the smallest player so that posed a big problem for me. This player in question was just skipping him in training. He never made a pass at her. I even think that in the World Cup final or in the Top 14 final, if he had had to pass the ball to him to score and win the cup, he would not have done it. I went to the player who didn’t want Henson and said “give him a chance”, giving him all my gibberish. He said, “Okay, I’ll stay at the club. But for me, on the lawn, it doesn’t exist…”.

Mourad Boudjellal also returned to the Welshman’s talent and gave a possible explanation for his instability: “I have a rugby team. My goal was not that. Either he plays, he finds his level again and that’s good, or he leaves. I wasn’t doing psychology, that wasn’t my role. The situation was too complicated. I’ve never experienced this. Between your main player who wants to leave because of the arrival of Henson… He was almost touching because he was lost. He has completely lost his way and so has his talent. He is undoubtedly one of the three most gifted players of his generation. He had a gift. But he lost it. He had something to take care of. Whereas when he was normal, he was very endearing.”