Gareth Thomas (rugby)
Gareth Thomas (born 25 July 1974), nicknamed "Alfie", is a Welsh former professional rugby player, who represented Wales in both rugby union and rugby league. With 100 test match appearances he was the most capped Welsh rugby union player until he was overtaken by Stephen Jones in September 2011. He is currently ranked 13th among international try scorers, and is the second highest Wales try scorer behind Shane Williams. He also won four rugby league caps for Wales, scoring three tries.
Thomas in 2011
|Date of birth||25 July 1974|
|Place of birth||Sarn, Mid Glamorgan, Wales|
(now Sarn, Bridgend County Borough)
|Height||6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)|
|Weight||16 st 3 lb (227 lb; 103 kg)|
|Rugby league career|
|Rugby union career|
He played rugby union as a fullback, wing or centre for Bridgend, Cardiff, the Celtic Warriors, Toulouse, Cardiff Blues, and Wales. In 2010 he changed rugby football codes from rugby union to rugby league when he transferred from Cardiff Blues the Crusaders in the Super League, and for Wales. He retired from rugby in October 2011.
Thomas came out as gay in December 2009. The following year he was voted the most influential gay person in the UK in The Independent on Sunday Pink List and received Stonewall’s Hero of the Year award.
Thomas started his career at Pencoed RFC at youth level before starting his first class career at Bridgend. He then transferred 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. 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 Ntamack. 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.
Gareth Thomas made his début for Wales on 27 May 1995 against Japan. 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 Wales. He held the Wales record for the most international tries with 40 until Shane Williams surpassed that total in the 2008 Six Nations Championship 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 interception 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 captain in Lions' history.
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 Gareth Llewellyn's Wales record of 92 caps. 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.
His 100th, and last test match was in his team's defeat by Fiji in the 2007 World Cup.
Rugby league careerEdit
Thomas joined Crusaders in March 2010 on an 18-month deal. He made his Crusaders' (and rugby league) début against French side Catalans Dragons on 19 March 2010. Thomas was concussed seconds into his rugby league début after a heavy challenge from Catalans player David Ferriol, and as a result had to leave the field after thirty minutes. Crusaders went on to win the game 14–6. Thomas went on to score his first try for the Crusaders against Wakefield Trinity in a 20–10 away victory on 11 April. A groin injury prematurely ended Thomas' first season in rugby league, but his recovery was hoped to be complete in time for the 2010 European Cup, for which Thomas was selected in the Welsh preliminary squad.
In a warm-up test before the European Cup, he made a try-scoring international rugby league début in Wales 13–6 defeat by Italy in October 2010. He scored again in his next international vs Scotland. In the final game of the tournament, Thomas was appointed captain, filling in for the injured Lee Briers. He scored a try in that game, helping Wales to a one-point win for both the European Cup Trophy and a spot in the 2011 Rugby League Four Nations.
On 9 July 2011, Thomas confirmed on Twitter that he had broken his left arm during the 38–10 defeat by Hull Kingston Rovers, and expected to be sidelined for two months. After missing the rest of the season and failing to reach 100% fitness before the 2011 Rugby League Four Nations tournament, on 25 October 2011 Thomas announced his immediate retirement.
Thomas was born in Sarn near Bridgend in July 1974. He married Jemma Thomas, whom he met when both were teenagers. The couple married in St Brides Major, near Bridgend, and filed for divorce in 2007; it was finalised in 2009. During the marriage, Jemma suffered three miscarriages.
In December 2009 Thomas announced publicly that he is gay. 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". Thomas's public confirmation of his sexuality made him the first openly gay professional rugby union player. 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". 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". Since coming out, Thomas has become a vocal supporter of the NSPCC and ChildLine, a telephone counselling service operated by the NSPCC for children and young people. In an interview, Thomas commented, "I don't know if my life is going to be easier because I'm out, but if it helps someone else, if it makes one young lad pick up the phone to ChildLine, then it will have been worth it".
He suffered a major health scare in February 2006. He had received a blow to his neck during a match; then later on while watching a televised recording of an interview he had given regarding his part in the resignation of Welsh coach Mike Ruddock, he fell ill and was rushed to hospital with a suspected stroke, which was brought on by a ruptured artery in his neck. It was feared that this could lead to his retirement, but he resumed playing at the start of the 2006–07 French rugby season.
On 14 September 2019, Thomas announced that he is HIV positive, with undetectable status, meaning that he is not infectious. On the following day he competed in the Ironman Wales event in Tenby, finishing 413th out of 2,039, having vowed to "break the stigma" around the illness. After feeling media pressure to do so and for National HIV Testing Week, Thomas also filmed a documentary with Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and the Terrence Higgins Trust, which aired a few days later on 18 September. Publicising the documentary that morning, he told an interviewer for BBC Radio 5 Live that a journalist had revealed his HIV status to his parents before he had had the opportunity to do so himself. While Thomas declined to name the journalist or the paper they write for, he did say "everybody will know, especially of late", leading the Press Gazette to suggest it could be The Sun, given they had been criticised the previous day for reporting about the family of England cricketer Ben Stokes. A BBC documentary, Gareth Thomas: HIV and Me, aired in September 2019.
In November 2011, actor Mickey Rourke said that he was planning to portray Thomas in a movie of his life; the film was due to start filming in February 2013. Thomas was later reported to be working with a writer on the script of the biopic. In March 2012, on the RTÉ programme Craig Doyle Live, Thomas announced that Tom Hardy was in talks to play him in the film. Rourke announced that he had given back the part to the producers. The film project later fell through, but Thomas said in 2015 that he was working on a new film with a different writer.
In January 2012, Thomas was a housemate in the ninth series of Celebrity Big Brother, and finished third overall on the final night. The same year, Thomas made a cameo appearance as himself in an episode of the Sky 1 comedy drama Stella. Thomas is also one of 8 celebrities chosen to participate in an intense week learning Welsh in an eco-friendly chic campsite in Pembrokeshire in the series cariad@iaith:love4language shown on S4C in May 2012.
In November 2012, he hinted to an audience of 300 people that he may be appearing in an ice dancing show and in December 2012, he was formally announced as one of the contestants, due to take part in the eighth series of ITV's Dancing on Ice in January 2013. His partner was Robin Johnstone. He was near the top of the leader board all week. In week 8, he suffered nausea and motion sickness whilst practising his "flying" routine, and was advised not to perform it and afterwards was advised to drop out of the rest of the series because of this.
- Gareth Thomas retires from rugby, BBC Sport, 25 October 2011. Retrieved 6 January 2012
- "Wales international Gareth Thomas announces retirement from all forms of rugby". The Daily Telegraph. 25 October 2011. Retrieved 26 October 2011.
- Smith, Gary (3 May 2010). "Gareth Thomas… The Only Openly Gay Male Athlete". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved 12 June 2010.
- Hugh, Montgomery (1 August 2010). "The IoS Pink List 2010". The Independent. Retrieved 11 November 2010.
- "Blues seek early Thomas release". BBC News. 21 January 2007.
- Profile on Yahoo! Sport
- "Rugby captain guilty of assault". BBC News. 10 November 2005.
- "Wales rule out Thomas ban appeal". BBC News. 2 February 2007.
- "Thomas to deputise for injured captain". Welsh Rugby Union. 14 March 2007. Archived from the original on 18 March 2007.
- "Australia 29–23 Wales". BBC Sport Online. 26 May 2007. Retrieved 26 May 2007.
- "Wakefield Trinity Wildcats 10–20 Crusaders". BBC News Online. 11 April 2010. Retrieved 9 August 2010.
- "Gareth Thomas hails rugby hero Allan Bateman". BBC News Online. 7 September 2010. Retrieved 17 September 2010.
- "Thomas scores in Wales defeat". Sporting Life. 6 October 2010. Archived from the original on 7 October 2011.
- "Crusaders' Gareth Thomas could miss rest of season". BBC News Online. 10 July 2011. Retrieved 10 July 2011.
- Roughley, Gregg (25 October 2011). "Wales international Gareth Thomas retires from all forms of rugby". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 October 2011.
- "Jemma Thomas: Gareth Thomas' Ex-Wife". Right Fielders. 16 February 2011. Archived from the original on 7 May 2013. Retrieved 17 June 2013.
- "Third baby tragedy for Alfie and Jemma". Wales Online. 3 April 2006. Retrieved 25 December 2019.
- "Ex-Lion Thomas reveals he is gay". BBC News Online. 19 December 2009.
- Clutton, Graham (18 December 2009). "Wales and Lions full-back Gareth Thomas discloses he is homosexual". The Daily Telegraph.
- Mayhew, Freddy (18 September 2019). "Welsh rugby star Gareth Thomas says journalist revealed his HIV status to his parents". Press Gazette. Retrieved 25 December 2019.
- "In-depth interview – Gareth Thomas". BBC Sport. 22 December 2009. Retrieved 22 December 2009.
- Doward, Jamie (19 December 2009). "Gay activists praise rugby star Gareth Thomas's decision to come out". The Guardian. Retrieved 16 June 2010.
- "Gareth Thomas". Rugby Speakers. Champion Speakers. 2018. Retrieved 26 December 2019.
- "Gareth Thomas". RESI Convention 2019. 2019. Retrieved 26 December 2019.
- Murdock, Meghann (8 September 2015). "Former Wales captain Gareth Thomas is renting out his home for the Rugby World Cup". Evening Standard. Retrieved 26 December 2019.
- "Gareth Thomas BBC profile". BBC Sport Online.
- "Thomas rejects retirement reports". BBC News Online. 17 March 2006.
- Davies, Sean (29 September 2004). "Thomas turns gamekeeper". BBC News Online.
- "Gareth Thomas autobiography Proud is Sports Book of the Year after winning public vote". The Sports Bookshelf. 19 June 2015.
- "Gareth Thomas: 'I have been the victim of a hate crime'". BBC News Online. 17 November 2018. Retrieved 18 November 2018.
- Davies, Daniel (14 September 2019). "Ex-Wales rugby captain Gareth Thomas reveals he has HIV". BBC News Online. Retrieved 14 September 2019.
- "Rugby legend Gareth Thomas takes on Ironman challenge to 'break the stigma' around HIV". ITV News. 14 September 2019. Retrieved 19 September 2019.
- "Duke of Sussex and Gareth Thomas tackle HIV stigma in a new film to mark National HIV Testing Week". Terrence Higgins Trust. 16 November 2019. Retrieved 2 January 2020.
- "Gareth Thomas hugs husband after finishing Ironman Wales to 'break the stigma' over HIV". ITV News. 15 September 2019. Retrieved 19 September 2019.
- Godfrey, Chris (8 June 2020). "Gareth Thomas on coming out as HIV positive: 'It was my right to tell my family – not somebody else's'". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 8 June 2020.
- "Movie star Mickey Rourke set to play Gareth Thomas on the big screen". Daily Mirror. 29 November 2011.
- "Rugby star Gareth Thomas talks over Rourke film script". Daily Mirror. 10 January 2012.
- Rees, Jasper (19 February 2015). "Gareth Thomas: how my secret life took centre stage". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 21 February 2015.
- "Celebrities go into Big Brother house". BBC Newsbeat. 6 January 2012. Retrieved 9 January 2012.
- "Gareth Thomas – Dancing on Ice". Live Events Group. 24 November 2012. Retrieved 17 June 2013.
- "Pinc List 2017". Wales Online.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Gareth Thomas (rugby player).|
- (archived by web.archive.org) Wales Rugby Union profile
- (archived by web.archive.org) Cardiff Blues profile
- (archived by web.archive.org) Official webpage
| British and Irish Lions Captain
Remained Tour Captain
as Active captain