Gareth Thomas born 25 July 1974
Gareth Thomas, born in Sarn near Bridgend, is a Welsh rugby union legend who currently plays at fullback, wing or centre for Crusaders and most recently played as a fullback for Cardiff Blues and Wales. On 26 May 2007, he surpassed Gareth Llewellyn as the most-capped Wales player with his 93rd appearance.
During the 2007 Rugby World Cup, Thomas created history when becoming the first Welshman to win 100 caps in rugby union. In this game he scored a try and prevented another but Wales lost to Fiji and were eliminated from the tournament. He therefore became the first player to lose on his 100th international appearance.
A prolific try scorer at international level, Thomas is listed ninth in the world on the all-time Test try scoring list.
Thomas has been championed as one of the few players who successfully negotiated rugby's transition from an amateur to a professional sport.
In 2005 Thomas was found guilty of assault whilst playing rugby in France and in 2007 was banned for four weeks for misconduct charges. Thomas was also implicated in the circumstances surrounding the departure of Six Nations-winning Wales coach Mike Ruddock and was involved in an explosive televised interview with BBC Scrum V pundit Eddie Butler about the issue.
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. It was feared this could lead to retirement but he somewhat miraculously resumed playing at the start of the 2006–07 French rugby season.
From 2002 to 2006, Thomas was married to childhood sweetheart Jemma. The couple married in St Brides Major, near Bridgend, and divorced in 2007; during the relationship, Jemma suffered three miscarriages.
Having struggled with his feelings since he was a teenager and having initially confided in Wales coach Scott Johnson and team mates Stephen Jones and Martin Williams in November 2006, in December 2009 Thomas came out in public that he is gay. This was seen as a surprising move given the taboo nature of homosexuality within team sports. Thomas's public confirmation of his sexuality makes him the first openly gay professional rugby player still playing the game.
Since his coming out Gareth Thomas has become an increasingly confident spokesman and advocate for LGB rights and campaigned against homophobic bullying, whilst still playing professional rugby.
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