Thomas set to become dual international
Gareth Thomas is poised to make his rugby league debut for Wales against Italy on Sunday, when Ian Watson is set to win a record 27th cap.
Former Wales and British Lions captain Thomas missed the last three months of his inaugural Engage Super League season with Crusaders RL because of a groin injury but is hopeful of making his comeback against the Azzurri at the Racecourse Ground, Wrexham.
The international will provide useful match practise for Iestyn Harris’ men ahead of the Alitalia European Cup.
“I expect Alfie to be fit for Sunday,” said Harris. “If he is, he will play and it is important for him to have a really good hit-out because he has not played for a while.
“I think his credentials speak for themselves, particularly in the 15-man code. He’s got 100 caps for his country and has captained the British Lions so it goes without saying that his experience is going to be invaluable for us.
“Ben Flower has been injured as well so it is important that those two players get some game time under their belts.”
Watson made his debut for Wales as an 18-year-old against the United States in Philadelphia in 1995 and, 15 years on, is set to beat Jim Sullivan’s appearance record that has stood since 1939.
“It will be a big honour for my family and I,” Watson said. “With the names up there already like Jim Sullivan, Anthony Sullivan and Iestyn Harris, it’s a big thing for me and a record that I’d be proud to hold.”
Sunday’s first full international between Wales and Italy is followed on Wednesday by an Under-23 fixture between the two nations at Parc Eirias in Colwyn Bay.