sport

Baber defends Blues night out

Cardiff Blues backs coach Gareth Baber has defended the decision to allow players to go out for a drink following Friday's defeat in Glasgow.

The Blues sacked Wales centre Henson on Monday after the 30-year-old was among "several" players who went out after the 31-3 loss in the RaboDirect PRO12.

But when his team-mates returned to the hotel, Henson did not and continued to drink on the flight back from Scotland, with his alcohol-fuelled behaviour leading to his initial suspension by the club on Saturday evening.

Henson apologised for his "inexcusable" behaviour in a lengthy statement on Sunday but it was not enough to save him as his contract was terminated with immediate effect following a meeting of the Blues management on Monday morning, leaving his rugby career in tatters.

The Blues are preparing for this weekend's daunting Heineken Cup quarter-final clash with defending champions Leinster, and when asked if he was disappointed that members of his squad had gone out ahead of the region's biggest game of the season, Baber said: "They went out, several of them went out.

"But they did not take it to the excess that that individual (Henson) did. They came back to the hotel and they were fine.

"They are grown men and they are professionals. It takes a lot for players to wind down and we (Baber and forwards coach Justin Burnell) were doing the same in the hotel ourselves.

"Obviously it was a bit disappointing to be in that situation on Saturday morning but that's the way it was."

Burnell, meanwhile, praised the Blues management for the swiftness with which they dealt with the issue, and insists preparations to face Leinster have not been affected.

He said: "It has been no distraction whatsoever. The issue was dealt with quickly over the weekend and it's now about this weekend and moving forward.

"The manner in which the Blues reacted to the situation was quick and swift and it has been all about the rugby from Monday morning."