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Wales lock Jonathan Thomas ready to shine against Scots

RBS SIX NATIONS - WALES v SCOTLAND
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


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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.

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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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Gatland blast at Wales lock Jones
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Henson Wales return is 'unlikely'
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BBC Sport Wales coverage
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