26 NOVEMBER 2007

Charlotte Church's ruby-playing fiancé Gavin Henson made an impressive return to the pitch at the weekend, marking his first start for Wales in over a year. And after giving it his all for 80 minutes in the team's friendly with South Africa as his bride-to-be cheered him enthusiastically on from the sidelines, the 25-year-old revealed the driving force behind his improved form - the new outlook which comes from being a dad.

"It’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me," says Gavin, whose daughter Ruby was born on September 20. "Before, I was probably putting a lot on myself, always trying to do the extra in training and thinking about the game a lot. Then suddenly you realise something else comes first which is the baby, Ruby. I think that has helped me a lot."

Although disappointed with the final result - the match ended with Prince William presenting the cup to the world champions South Africa – the Lions centre was delighted to be back in the international arena, winning his 23rd cap. "It’s always great to play for your country," he said.

And after sparking the side's first try and producing some formidable touches, Gavin has been tipped by commentators to be wearing the red jersey of Wales more often.

Photo: ©
The Lions centre's proud fiancée Charlotte Church cheered on her man as he made his return to the pitch, marking his first start with Wales in over a yearPhoto: © RexClick on photos for gallery
Photo: ©
Gavin says his comeback is backed by a new outlook, which comes from being a fatherPhoto: © Getty Images