BBC Sport rugbyleague

IN ASSOCIATION WITH

Related BBC sites

Page last updated at 08:15 GMT, Tuesday, 7 September 2010 09:15 UK

Gareth Thomas hails rugby hero Allan Bateman

Bateman and Thomas played for Wales in 1997
Bateman and Thomas played for Wales against Romania at Wrexham in 1997

Gareth Thomas says following in the footsteps of dual-code predecessor hero Allan Bateman inspired his decision to bid for a Wales rugby league cap.

Thomas is poised to make his Wales league debut in October and describes Bateman as his lifelong hero.

Bateman also played for Wales in both rugby codes and was also a British and Irish Lion.

Thomas said: "I couldn't really have asked for anything more from my rugby career."

Wales play two Italy friendlies in October, then defend their European Cup when they face Scotland, Ireland and France.

The winners of the European Cup will earn a place in the 2011 Four Nations against England, Australia and New Zealand.

Thomas, who won a record 100 Wales rugby union caps and captained his country and the Lions was last month selected in Wales league coach Iestyn Harris' squad.

I never thought that I'd put on the Welsh jersey again, especially not a league jersey

Gareth Thomas

The Crusader must recover from groin surgery to be fit for their forthcoming campaign.

But he told BBC Radio Wales he is relishing the prospect of relaunching an international career that appeared to have ended when Wales were beaten by Fiji at the 2007 Rugby [union] World Cup.

Thomas said: "For me it's fantastic. I never thought that I'd put on the Welsh jersey again, especially not a league jersey.

"To me, probably one of the biggest things is that my idol in rugby growing up - and even to this day - has been Allan Bateman.

"And to follow in his footsteps, the fact that he played dual-code international; when you get to emulate what your hero has done in rugby almost makes you... well I couldn't really have asked for anything more from my rugby career."

Thomas' decision to join Harris' squad has also promoted Warrington Wolves stand-off Lee Briers to seriously consider an international comeback in the autumn.



Print Sponsor


see also
Briers in line for Wales comeback
08 Sep 10 |  Rugby League
Briers hungry for more success
05 Sep 10 |  Rugby League
Thomas targets fitness for Wales
23 Aug 10 |  Rugby League
Thomas makes Wales league squad
03 Aug 10 |  Crusaders
Wales plan autumn Test schedule
26 Jul 10 |  Rugby League
Wales given 2013 World Cup spot
07 May 10 |  Rugby League
Blues back Thomas on code switch
05 Mar 10 |  Cardiff Blues
Thomas makes switch to Crusaders
05 Mar 10 |  Crusaders
Thomas' 2007 World Cup trauma
05 Mar 10 |  Welsh
Thomas considers coaching future
08 Jan 10 |  Welsh
Ex-Lion Thomas reveals he is gay
19 Dec 09 |  Welsh
Welsh convert XIII
10 May 10 |  Rugby League
BBC Sport Wales coverage
03 Oct 11 |  Wales


related bbc links:

related internet links:
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


BBC navigation

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.