TV star Gavin Henson has become the first fan to play for Wales after spending £90 on an ‘authentic replica’ Welsh rugby jersey.
The Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) had been accused of ‘ripping off’ fans by launching the official Rugby World Cup jersey and charging £90 for the shirt, which was apparently produced following 18 months of research and utilises advanced technology and fabrics.
The WRU had only launched its latest kit in September last year, when ironically it asked Strictly Come Dancing star Henson to model the new look jersey.
But Henson, who used to date Welsh warbler Charlotte Church, had no qualms about taking to the field at Saturday’s Millennium Stadium match against the invitation Barbarians side, despite not playing rugby for a professional club.
Henson, who also starred in ITV’s 71 Degrees North, said he hopes now that he’s splashed out on the official RWC jersey he could even make the squad for the autumn tournament in New Zealand.
“Ideally I’d love to come into this on the back of 20 games,” said Henson: “But I’m always confident in my own ability to pull it off.
“It’s a great chance for me and it might be my only chance. I have to grab it and see if I can force my way into the World Cup squad.”
However another Welsh showbiz star, and acknowledged rugby nut, Max Boyce, said it was wrong wealthy celebrities were able to buy their way into the national side.
Clutching a giant leek, Max told WNN: “The ability to buy replica shirts and wear them on the field devalues that shirt instead of making it something that is prized by players who are picked for Wales.
“I realise the financial implications in all this, that you have to make money, but I think we are in danger of losing our grass-roots,” he said.
Henson played for an hour of Saturday’s loss before he was replaced by a professional rugby player.