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Henson Inspires Ospreys Victory

The inner workings of the prodigious 22-year-old, named the best young player in the world three years ago, remain a mystery but yesterday he gave the new national coach a timely reminder of what he can do by inspiring Neath-Swansea Ospreys to a comfortable Celtic League victory.

Henson scored 24 points, including their third and final try, to take the Ospreys a step closer to Heineken Cup qualification and condemn former European giants Cardiff to the second-tier competition.

With only four of the five Welsh regions able to qualify for Europe’s premier competition, this was always likely to be a heated affair.

Their rivalry was given added spice by the dangers being exchanged in glances between the respective benches after the recent bitter defection of Ospreys team manager Derwyn Jones from the Arms Park.

The giant former Wales lock was sacked by Cardiff for "gross misconduct" after allegedly passing information, including lineout calls and moves, to
the Ospreys.

By coincidence or design, depending on who you believe, the Ospreys marched into a commanding first-half lead with two tries, both launched from lineouts.

The first, from ex-Cardiff forward Luke Tait’s clean take, saw outside-half Shaun Connor loop around behind centre James Storey to slip through inside five minutes while the second will have brought a smile to Jones’ face.

Andy Lloyd returned Barry Williams’ throw to send the British Lion racing down the touchline before flicking the scoring pass to lock Andy Newman.

Cardiff had little to offer in response and even when the Ospreys lost James Bater to the sin bin, young Nick Robinson fluffed two shots at goal while his peer Henson went about his business with cool intent slotting a third
for a 23-6 half-time lead.

A break-away try for Jonny Vaughton on 46 minutes was as good as it got for the Blues as Henson kept the Ospreys out of reach with two penalties before rounding off the win and his personal haul with a try in the last minute.

Henson scrambled over after Steffan Terblanche did well to keep their attack moving following Connor’s poor pass.

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