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Gareth Thomas hails Rugby League stance on abuse

Thomas won 100 caps for Wales as a rugby union player
Thomas won 100 caps for Wales as a rugby union player

Gareth Thomas hailed Rugby League's authorities for clamping down on homophobic abuse he suffered in the Crusaders loss at Castleford in March.

The former Wales and Lions captain has only recently switched codes from rugby union to rugby league.

But in December he broke one of the major taboos that surround sport by revealing he is gay.

"The chants in a way have been good as now people are aware of it so they want to stop it before it begins," he said.

"At the time on the field I thought it wasn't very nice and it hurt a bit but I thought to myself I'm glad it hurt because it should hurt as I'm only human.

"But the best thing about it more than anything was after when I thought it wasn't actually that bad.

"It needed to happen because I'm the first to do it and see what the reaction is in rugby league so the person coming in behind me in however many years that may be."

In his rugby union days, Thomas captained Wales to their first Grand Slam in 27 years in 2005, then took over the Lions leadership in New Zealand during the same year after original skipper Brian O'Driscoll was injured in the opening Test.

He has also played for Bridgend, Celtic Warriors and spent three years in France with Toulouse, where he won the 2005 Heineken Cup before spending the last three years at the Cardiff Blues.

And at the start of March, the 35-year-old made his high-profile move to Wrexham-based Crusaders, signing an 18-month deal.

Thomas made his debut in the 14-6 defeat of Catalan Dragons, but it was in his second appearance at Castleford where he suffered abuse.

"The rugby league have intervened and now the governing bodies are going to fine Castleford for their fans behaviour," he said.

"A lot of people criticised the critics who were shouting stuff at me [at the time].

"They were telling the people who were chanting at me to shut up.

"I went to Bradford the week after and nothing was said because the stewards were told before that if there was any abuse or chanting at Thomas they were to be ejected from the stadium.

"It's like a snowball effect."

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see also
Bruised Thomas enjoyed league bow
20 Mar 10 |  Crusaders
Thomas makes switch to Crusaders
05 Mar 10 |  Crusaders
Ex-Lion Thomas reveals he is gay
19 Dec 09 |  Welsh

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