Of all the stupid things Welshman Gavin Henson could have done to endanger his stay with French club Toulon, insulting Jonny Wilkinson was about the worst.

It is alleged that Henson, already unpopular in the French club's dressing room because of what has been perceived as his arrogance, taunted Wilkinson.

This was as bright as someone taunting Prince William in royal wedding week.

Henson, by general belief never the brightest spark in the electrician's box, was this week suspended for a week by the French club for alleged 'fights' with certain team-mates at a nightclub after the club's 21-9 victory over Stade Toulouse in Marseille last weekend.

Now, as a result, Henson's whole future with Toulon is in doubt, as is his possible involvement in the Rugby World Cup with Wales later this year.

But Henson's first mistake was to make it clear he didn't respect Toulon captain, South African Joe van Niekerk, either. This, too, showed Henson has clearly been short-changed when it comes to the grey matter.

Van Niekerk, a former Springbok, is hugely popular at Toulon. He was quickly made club captain because of what was seen as his devotion and commitment to the club. He is regarded as an inspirational leader and a popular one, too, a player and personality revered among the club and its supporters. After his first season, Toulon offered him a longer term, improved deal. They were delighted when he accepted.

Van Niekerk is seen to give everything, absolutely everything each time he wears 'le noir et rouge' (red and black) of Toulon. This quality is admired at a club where the owner, Mourad Boudjallel, has spent huge sums of money to revive the club. Indeed, another South African, Bakkies Botha, will join them after the World Cup later this year.

By doing so, Boudjallel risked attracting the wrong sort of personalities, those only really interested in the big pay day. But Van Niekerk quickly showed that, whatever he was being paid, he was worth every penny. Far from giving anyone the impression that he was only in town for the money, the South African has urged, cajoled and at times roared Toulon on to some important victories.

This weekend, late in April, they are still in the chase for a play-off place in the French Championship end-of-season shoot-out.

So if as is alleged Henson fell out with him, that was a pretty dumb thing to do in the first place. But taunting Wilkinson and falling out with him was even more stupid.

The England fly half is regarded as an icon around the club on the Mediterranean. He is adored, revered by not only the Toulon supporters but club officials and his fellow team mates. And not just for his play.

He has kicked numerous goals, penalties, conversions or drops, to secure vital wins for the club. Yet Wilkinson does not owe his popularity solely to what he has done on the field, valuable as his contribution clearly has been.

For so large a personality on the world rugby stage, Toulon love the Englishman's humility and complete lack of self aggrandisement. For a start, he quickly endeared himself to the French by learning their language. Indeed, after his first ever French Championship match for the club, he insisted on conducting a post-match TV interview in French.

That went down like a fine cognac with the locals. Indeed, those who speak French fluently, were amazed at how much progress he had made with the language in such a short space of time.

Joe van Niekerk once spoke to me in almost hushed, revered terms when we discussed the Englishman's commitment and how it had rubbed off on those around him.

"His example is awesome" Joe told me. "You just look at what he gives, what he does, his sheer professionalism in every way and you respect that."

Undoubtedly, much of that has rubbed off on the South African.

So Gavin Henson allegedly picks a fight, verbal or otherwise, with both of them. How clever is that? No wonder many reckon he's on his way out of the door at a place he professes to love.

Could it be the arrogant Welshman just can't help himself?

- INDEPENDENT