6:30am Wednesday 27th June 2012
By Iwan Gabe Davies
GARETH Owen – the man once dubbed the new Gavin Henson – is being linked with a potential move to the Newport Gwent Dragons.
The talented utility back is looking for a new club after the Ospreys released him earlier this month.
The 23-year-old – who can play full back, centre and outside half – has spent the last year on the sidelines after undergoing two-stage knee surgery in a career already plagued by injury.
Owen sustained the injury last July in what the Ospreys described as a “freak accident” in training which saw him twist his knee.
He also suffered a severe ankle injury playing for his region against Glasgow in September 2008.
Owen could have won a Wales cap on the summer tour of Canada and the USA in 2009 but had to withdraw with an Achilles injury.
His place was then taken by ex-Scarlets full back Daniel Evans who has joined the Dragons for the new season.
Owen played 50 games for the Ospreys, scoring nine tries.
He was part of the Wales Under-20s ‘golden generation’ squad of 2008 which produced players who have distinguished themselves on the world stage like 2012 Grand Slam captain Sam Warburton and teammates Leigh Halfpenny and Jonathan Davies.
When he burst onto the regional scene, Owen was tipped for the very top.
In 2009, the then Ospreys director of coaching Scott Johnson compared him with ex-Wales centre hero Henson.
Former Wales caretaker and assistant coach Johnson said of Owen’s potential: “Gareth reminds me so much of Gav, physically as much as anything.
“Look at him, and he has the olive skin, he is well-built and is a great athlete.
“He is probably a bit more explosive than Gavin. He has an amazing turn of speed to go with an amazing physical presence.”
Johnson added: “In fact there is nothing the lad cannot do. He has a good kick and just has something about him that you cannot coach.
“He is such a talented lad and in a few years’ time Wales will get a very good Test player.”
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