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Page last updated at 11:17 GMT, Thursday, 17 September 2009 12:17 UK

Thomas keeps Wales on back-burner

MAGNERS LEAGUE - Ospreys v Leinster
Venue: Liberty Stadium, Swansea Date: 18 September Kick-off: 1905 BST
Coverage: Live on BBC TWO Wales & online, score updates online and highlights on Sunday's Scrum V


Jonathan Thomas
Thomas' return could impact on Ryan Jones' Wales captaincy

Ospreys back-row forward Jon Thomas says he is trying to keep a Wales return out of his mind after returning from a seven-month injury absence.

"I would love to be part of the Wales squad again, I miss it badly," said the 26-year-old 47-cap international.

"I was lucky enough to be involved for a number of years - I miss the whole stage and the atmosphere.

"But I'm trying not to get ahead of myself and to just focus on the next couple of weeks."

Thomas is highly rated by the Wales management and his comeback was mentioned by national coach Warren Gatland as a factor in his decision to delay reappointing Ryan Jones as captain.

606: DEBATE

Gatland wants Ospreys number eight Jones to be sure of his place in the national side, but he faces back-row competition from the likes of Thomas, Andy Powell, Gareth Delve and Dafydd Jones.

Thomas, who has been troubled by a persistent groin injury that caused numerous additional problems, made his Ospreys return from the bench in last week's miserable home defeat to Ulster.

"I was obviously delighted to just get on the field [against Ulster] having been out for so long," Thomas told BBC Wales' Scrum V rugby programme.

"The disappointment of losing brought me back down to earth really quickly.

"It's been an incredibly difficult 12 months. I've made two or three comebacks when I thought I was over the problems.

Leinster are definitely the best side we've played in the Magners League

Jonathan Thomas

"Each time it was a kick in the teeth to break down again and have to go through all the rehab again.

"I'm not getting carried away this time. I'll take it step by step, try to improve my fitness and get back to my best - I haven't done a huge amount of running yet.

"There's a load of competition in the back five [at the Ospreys], especially with Ian Evans and Alun Wyn Jones close to returns.

"It's important that I get back to fitness and give myself a chance to fight for a place."

Thomas returns to the starting line-up at lock for Friday's big Magners League clash against Heineken Cup champions Leinster at the Liberty Stadium.

"It was a massive disappointment to lose last week, we're fairly proud of our home record," he said.

"It was the second game of the season and sometimes you have blips early on - we've got to make sure that it doesn't happen too many times.

Bishop awaits Ospreys centenary

"It's very important that we get back on track this weekend. We feel that we've let the fans down and we want to play some good rugby.

"It's been a great pre-season since [Ospreys director of coaching] Scott Johnson came in, he's worked very hard with us.

"Scott is a world-class coach. We owe him one and we owe the fans one. It's a results business and we'll be judged at the end of the season.

"Leinster are definitely the best side we've played in the Magners League. They play a great brand of rugby and as a player we usually have enjoyable games [against them].

"But it's about winning for us this weekend. It's going to be a massively tough game and we've got to step up to the plate."

*Watch Ospreys v Leinster live on Scrum V, BBC TWO Wales & online, Friday, 18 September, 1900 BST



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see also
Ospreys 11-18 Leinster
18 Sep 09 |  Welsh
Ospreys must find an 'identity'
16 Sep 09 |  Welsh
Wales' rugby fixtures
26 Jun 07 |  Welsh
Wales rugby results archive
15 Oct 03 |  Welsh
Heineken Cup
11 Apr 07 |  Rugby Union
RaboDirect Pro12
11 Apr 07 |  Rugby Union
Anglo-Welsh Cup
11 Apr 07 |  Rugby Union
BBC Sport Wales coverage
03 Oct 11 |  Wales
Coming up next on Scrum V...
03 Nov 08 |  Welsh


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