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Page last updated at 07:57 GMT, Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Wales lock Jonathan Thomas ready to shine against Scots

Venue: Millennium Stadium Date: Saturday, 13 February Kick-off: 1400 GMT
Coverage: Exclusively live on BBC ONE, BBC HD channel, Red Button and online, full commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live, Radio Wales and Radio Cymru, live text commentary and score updates on BBC Sport website


Ospreys boost Wales pack - Thomas

Jonathan Thomas is determined to show he is back to his best for Wales in Saturday's RBS Six Nations match against Scotland in Cardiff.

The 27-year-old will partner Ospreys team-mate Alun Wyn Jones at lock, replacing Luke Charteris as one of two changes from last week's England loss.

Leigh Halfpenny also replaces Blues team-mate Tom James on the wing.

"You always live in hope," Thomas said. "I badly wanted to get back into the starting line-up and... I'm delighted."

Thomas is vastly experienced at Test level and reached the 50-cap mark during the autumn internationals finale against Australia, coming off the bench during Wales' 33-12 loss.

The forward was still coming back to full fitness after a seven-month absence with a persistent groin injury that caused numerous additional problems.

"I came back into the squad in the autumn after a long injury lay-off and I probably don't mind admitting that even though I was regarded as fit, I probably wasn't where I needed to be in terms of match-fitness.

"I've worked hard during the autumn and since then with the Ospreys and I feel like now I'm finally back to full fitness."

Thomas admits he prefers to play in the back-row but is happy to pack down at lock, a position he has mainly filled this season at regional level thanks to the Ospreys' riches at numbers six to eight.


With five Ospreys in Wales' pack to face Scotland, Thomas expects that cohesion to come shining through at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday.

"I'll be scrummaging behind [loose-head prop] Paul James, scrummaging with Alun Wyn Jones and obviously there's Adam Jones at tight-head," Thomas said.

"We're a very comfortable unit; we felt we scrummaged well in Europe against Leicester and Clermont Auvergne, yeah, very comfortable with those boys around me."

The Wales line-out misfired horribly at Twickenham, where where Wales lost five of their 12 throws.

Hooker Gareth Williams received criticism for his throwing at the line-out, but has been given a second chance by Wales coach Warren Gatland in the continued injury absence of Lion Matthew Rees.

Thomas has a reputation as a leader in the line-out, but he says that fellow lock Jones will call the shots against the competitive Scotland jumpers.

"Alun Wyn is calling the line-outs, I'm not coming in to call the line-outs you know, I'm coming in as a lock forward.

"But we work together, we're team-mates with the Ospreys, if he asks my opinion I'll obviously give it or if he needs any support I'll give him my support.

"In terms of the weekend, as a pack we were very disappointed with the line-out.

"[England captain] Steve Borthwick is probably one of the world's best at studying line-outs. He did a bit of a job on us at the weekend.

"The big thing with line-outs is being a step ahead of the opposition, the ultimate test for us this weekend is to make sure we're a step ahead of Scotland."

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see also
Wales make two changes for Scots
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Alun Wyn feared for Wales future
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Scotland recall Parks and Murray
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Gatland blast at Wales lock Jones
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Henson Wales return is 'unlikely'
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Wales' rugby fixtures
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Wales rugby results archive
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