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Last Updated: Sunday, 22 May, 2005, 16:48 GMT 17:48 UK
Thomas ecstatic at Heineken win
Gareth Thomas celebrates Toulouse's Heineken Cup triumph
Toulouse's Gareth Thomas praised coach Guy Noves after his side's 18-12 Heineken Cup final win over Stade Francais at Murrayfield.

"Guy came on before extra-time and spoke with passion, we wouldn't have done it without him," said Thomas, the eighth Welshman to win the cup.

Toulouse's celebrations were spoiled as Noves was led away by police following a post-match pitchside scuffle.

"There were too many people let on the pitch to grab at players," said Thomas.

"But the win was great for the club and for the coach, we needed to get some silverware.

"It was a bit disappointing not to score any tries, but the pressure was on and it's difficult to produce champagne rugby.

"This was the first time I'd ever played extra-time in a match - it was more mind-draining than body-draining, those last 20 minutes really took a toll.

"But Guy came on and spoke from the heart to inspire us."

Gareth Thomas in action in the Heineken Cup final
We're a proud nation and I'm very happy to join an elite band of players
Gareth Thomas on Welsh Heineken Cup winners
Wales captain Thomas joins compatriots Tony Rees (with Brive), Ieuan Evans, Richard Webster and Nathan Thomas (with Bath), Allan Bateman and Andy Newman (with Northampton), and Rob Howley (with Wasps) on the roll-call of Heineken Cup winners.

"We're a proud nation and I'm very happy to join an elite band of players," said Thomas.

"There's no time to celebrate, though. I'm heading straight back to Wales to watch the Lions in Cardiff, that's a sacrifice I'm willing to make.

"There are a few weeks left of the domestic season in France then it will be off to New Zealand to link up with the Lions again."




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