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Cardiff Blues' Gareth Thomas considers coaching future

Gareth Thomas
Blues back Gareth Thomas has a record won 100 Wales international caps

Gareth Thomas admits he could be tempted to leave Cardiff Blues to pursue his coaching ambitions.

The former Lions and Wales captain is in contract talks with the Blues over the possibility of extending his deal which expires at the end of the season.

And following reports he has been offered a player-coach role at the Ospreys, the 35-year-old Thomas admits he could be tempted away.

He told BBC Sport Wales: "If an offer came... I'd be interested in it."

Thomas, though, insists reports of a move to the Blues' great rivals Ospreys - coached by friend and mentor Scott Johnson - are speculative.

Thomas was coached by Johnson when the Aussie was skills coach of Wales and the veteran back admits he speaks to the Ospreys' director of rugby regularly.

"I speak with Johnno all the time," said Thomas, Wales' most capped male rugby player.

"Johnno's like a mate of mine - he's a great mate. He just happens to coach the Ospreys.

"So if I was sitting in a café with Paul Turner having a conversation does that mean that I'm joining the Dragons?

"It's that kind of thing. So if an offer came and it was a great offer, again for coaching, if it came from the Blues, the Dragons, wherever it be, then I'd be interested in it."

The Ospreys' backroom staff are led by elite performance director Andrew Hore and Johnson while the Welsh region also have five other coaches - including head coach Sean Holley.

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But an Ospreys statement insisted: "The Ospreys have moved to quell media speculation regarding the future of Gareth Thomas of Cardiff Blues.

"A newspaper report states that Thomas is considering an offer to join the Ospreys as player-coach.

"We would like to make it absolutely clear that Gareth has not been offered a player-coach role with the region.

"Not only is speculation such as this unhelpful, it can also be unsettling for all concerned, particularly at such an important time of the season with important Heineken Cup games on the immediate horizon, which require 100 per cent focus from players and coaches alike."

Thomas, who won 100 caps in his 13-year Welsh international career, joined the Blues from Toulouse in 2007 after he won the 2005 Heineken Cup with the French giants in 2005.

He has enjoyed an illustrious career and held Wales' try-scoring record with 40 scores until Shane Williams eclipsed his feat in 2008.

Thomas, who started his career in his home town Bridgend in the early 1990s, led Wales to the 2005 Grand Slam - Wales' first Six Nations Championship clean-sweep for 27 years - and took over the Lions captaincy from Brian O'Driscoll on the ill-fated whitewash tour to New Zealand.

So Thomas looks to remain in rugby once his playing career comes to an end, although he may remain on the Blues playing staff for another few seasons.

He said: "Rugby's a strange old world sometimes. I've wanted to stay with the Blues and I'm kind of in negotiations with the Blues.

"And then all of a sudden there's this thing about the Ospreys and it's kind of a speculative article. That that's all it really is.

* You can see a full Gareth Thomas interview on Sport Wales on BBC TWO Wales at 2100 GMT on Friday.



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see also
Blues star Rush future undecided
13 Jan 10 |  Cardiff Blues
Blues may consider fresh Hook bid
07 Jan 10 |  Welsh
Ex-Lion Thomas reveals he is gay
19 Dec 09 |  Welsh
Thomas rejects retirement reports
17 Mar 06 |  Internationals
Thomas plans end to Test career
28 Jan 07 |  Welsh
Cardiff Blues capture Thomas
20 Jan 07 |  Cardiff Blues
Thomas poised for Wales landmark
26 Sep 07 |  Welsh
Wales advised to jettison Thomas
02 Feb 07 |  Welsh
Thomas comments surprise Ruddock
20 Feb 06 |  Internationals
Toulouse seal Thomas deal
04 May 04 |  Welsh
BBC Sport Wales coverage
03 Oct 11 |  Wales


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