Gareth Thomas (rugby player): Wikis

  
  

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Gareth Thomas
Gareth Thomas.jpg
Personal information
Full name Gareth Thomas
Date of birth 25 July 1974 (1974-07-25) (age 35)
Place of birth Sarn, near Bridgend, Wales
Height 6 ft 3 in (1.92 m)
Weight 15 st 13 lb (101 kg)
Nickname Alfie
School Ogmore School
Occupation(s) Rugby player
Height and weight correct as of .
Rugby union career
Playing career
Position Fullback, wing, centre
Clubs Caps (points)
 ?-1997
1997–2001
2001–03
2003–04
2004–07
2007–present
Bridgend
Cardiff
Bridgend
Warriors
Toulouse
Blues
 ??
??
??
??
??
40
(??)
(??)
(??)
(??)
(??)
(50)
correct as of 10:43, 18 February 2008 (UTC).
National team(s)
1995–2007
2005
Wales
British and Irish Lions
100
3
(200)
(5)
correct as of 9 October 2007.

Gareth Thomas (born 25 July 1974 in Sarn near Bridgend) is a Welsh rugby union player who currently plays at fullback, wing or centre for the Cardiff Blues and most recently played as a fullback for Wales. On 26 May 2007, he surpassed Gareth Llewellyn as the most-capped Wales player with his 93rd appearance. A prolific try scorer at international level, Thomas is listed ninth in the world on the all-time Test try scoring list. During the 2007 Rugby World Cup, Thomas created sporting history when he become the first Welshman to win 100 international caps in rugby union. During this game he scored a try and prevented another but Wales lost to Fiji and were eliminated from the tournament.

Contents

Nickname

Gareth Thomas is often referred to by his nickname 'Alfie' owing to a supposed resemblance to a character in a sitcom called ALF.[1] His way of celebrating tries by slapping his head is called "the Ayatollah", used as a reminder that Thomas is a keen Cardiff City supporter (the Ayatollah is a popular celebration amongst Cardiff fans).[2]

Club career

Thomas started his career at Pencoed RFC at youth Level before starting his first class career at Bridgend. He then moved to Pontypridd, but never actually played a game for them before re-signing for Bridgend. He then spent a spell at Cardiff starting in 1997 before rejoining hometown club Bridgend again in 2001 and captaining them to a Welsh Premier Division title in 2003, in a campaign where they were unbeaten at home and only lost to runners-up Neath and Cardiff away.[3] He then joined the Celtic Warriors once the Welsh Rugby Union implemented its regional rugby plans for the 2003/04 season. After one season as captain of the Warriors, the region was disbanded by the then-WRU chief David Moffett and owner Leighton Samuel, although Thomas had already agreed a deal to join French club Toulouse where he was seen as the ideal replacement for soon-to-retire captain Émile N'Tamack. He helped the club to a Heineken Cup victory in 2005 after a victory over Stade Français at Murrayfield. On 20 January 2007, Cardiff Blues completed a deal to bring Thomas back to Wales for the 2007-08 season..

International career

Gareth Thomas made his debut for Wales on 27 May 1995 against Japan.[1] He scored a Welsh record-equalling four tries in the match against Italy in Treviso in 1999; one of only seven players to achieve that feat for his country. He held the Wales record for the most international tries with 40 until Shane Williams surpassed that total in the 2008 Six Nations Championship, but still retains the record for most Test appearances for his country, with 100. He surpassed the try record previously held by Ieuan Evans in 2004 against Italy. He also got a hat-trick of tries in the Second Test against Japan in 2001; 51 appearances after announcing his arrival on the international scene with a hat-trick in the 1995 World Cup game against the same opposition. Equally at home at centre, it was from that position he scored the longest intercept try ever seen at the Arms Park, a 90 metre dash against Australia in 1996.

Thomas was selected for the 2005 British and Irish Lions tour to New Zealand. Following injury to Brian O'Driscoll in the opening minutes of the first test against New Zealand, he was made captain for the second and third tests of the series, becoming the ninth Welsh skipper in Lions history.

In 2005 Thomas was found guilty of assault whilst playing rugby in France[4] and in 2007 was banned for four weeks for misconduct charges.[5]

Thomas was named as captain for Wales' final match in the 2007 Six Nations against England after current captain Stephen Jones was ruled out with a broken wrist. When Thomas took the field, he equalled Llewellyn's Wales record of 92 caps.[6] He broke Llewellyn's record when he led Wales out against Australia at Telstra Stadium in Sydney on 26 May 2007, a match that Wales lost 29–23 on a Wallabies try after the siren.[7]

His 100th, and so far last test match was in his team's defeat by Fiji in the 2007 World Cup.

Personal life

From 2002 to 2006, Thomas was married to childhood sweetheart Jemma. The couple married in St Brides Major, near Bridgend, and filed for divorce in 2007; during the relationship, Jemma suffered three miscarriages.[8]

In December 2009 Thomas announced publicly that he is gay.[8] He told the Daily Mail , "I don't want to be known as a gay rugby player. I am a rugby player, first and foremost I am a man."[9] Thomas' public confirmation of his sexuality makes him the first openly gay professional rugby player still playing the game.[10] In an interview with the BBC, Thomas talked about how he hoped that his coming out would mean that in the future, young gay rugby players would be able to come out and be accepted as a "talented gay rugby player".[11] Thomas also said, "What I choose to do when I close the door at home has nothing to do with what I have achieved in rugby."[12]

Health scare

Thomas suffered a major health scare after the resignation of Welsh coach Mike Ruddock in February 2006 was blamed on player power from senior players. He had received a blow to his neck during a match then later on whilst watching a televised recording of an interview he had given regarding his part in the Mike Ruddock affair, he fell ill and was rushed to hospital with a suspected stroke, which was brought on by a ruptured artery in his neck.[13] It was feared that this could lead to his retirement[14], but he resumed playing at the start of the 2006–07 French rugby season.

References

  1. ^ a b Profile on Yahoo! Sport
  2. ^ Thomas turns gamekeeper, BBC Sport Online, 29 September 2004
  3. ^ Blues seek early Thomas release, BBC Sport Online, 21 January 2007
  4. ^ Rugby captain guilty of assault, BBC Sport Online, 10 November 2005
  5. ^ Wales rule out Thomas ban appeal, BBC Sport Online, 2 February 2007
  6. ^ "Thomas to deputise for injured captain". Welsh Rugby Union. 14 March 2007. http://wru.co.uk/2_9844.php.  
  7. ^ "Australia 29–23 Wales". BBC Sport Online. 26 May 2007. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/rugby_union/welsh/6691839.stm. Retrieved 26 May 2007.  
  8. ^ a b "British Lions rugby legend Gareth Thomas: 'It's ended my marriage and nearly driven me to suicide. Now it's time to tell the world the truth — I'm gay'". Daily Mail. 18 December 2009. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/rugbyunion/article-1237064/British-Lions-rugby-legend-Gareth-Thomas-Its-ended-marriage-nearly-driven-suicide-Now-time-tell-world-truth--Im-gay.html. Retrieved 18 December 2009.  
  9. ^ Ex-Lion Gareth Thomas comes out as gay, BBC Sport Online, 19 December 2009
  10. ^ Wales and Lions full-back Gareth Thomas reveals he is gay, The Daily Telegraph, 18 December 2009
  11. ^ "In-depth interview - Gareth Thomas". BBC Sport. 22 December 2009. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/rugby_union/welsh/8425335.stm. Retrieved 22 December 2009.  
  12. ^ Jamie Doward (19 December 2009). "Gay activists praise rugby star Gareth Thomas's decision to come out". guardian.co.uk. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/dec/19/gay-groups-applaud-gareth-thomas. Retrieved 28 December 2009.  
  13. ^ Gareth Thomas BBC profile, BBC Sport Online
  14. ^ Thomas rejects retirement reports, BBC Sport Online, 17 March 2006

External links

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Brian O'Driscoll
Tour Captain
Martin Corry
Active captain
British and Irish Lions Captain
O'Driscoll
Remained Tour Captain
July 2005
as Active captain
Succeeded by
Paul O'Connell
Awards
Preceded by
Wales Tanni Grey-Thompson
BBC Wales Sports Personality of the Year
2005
Succeeded by
Wales Joe Calzaghe







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