Thomas ready for second Wales debut
After winning 100 caps for his country in rugby union, Gareth Thomas is looking forward to gaining his first in league when Wales meet Italy at the Racecourse Ground tomorrow night.
The friendly international, a warm-up match for the Alitalia European Cup which starts this weekend, was re-arranged from Sunday because of heavy rain and that has given the 36-year-old winger more time to fully recover from a groin injury that curtailed his season with Crusaders RL.
“It’s good to finally get the go-ahead,” he said. “I’m looking forward to getting back on the field after a few months being injured and I’m especially looking forward to representing my country again.
“The real business starts on Sunday in Scotland in our first European Cup game but the Italy game is very important to me as I need the run-out after a few months off.”
Wales coach Iestyn Harris said: “I’m excited about seeing Gareth play. He has made real steady progress in his rugby league career.
“He came to Crusaders five or six games into the season and was getting really accomplished in the game before picking up a groin injury.
“He missed the back end of the year so he needs the game time under his belt, as do some of the others like Ben Flower and Gil Dudson.”
Thomas will come up against one of his Crusaders team-mates in Rocky Trimarchi, who last played for the Azzurri six years ago.
“It’s a big step for us,” said Trimarchi. “We’ve a lot of Italian-Australian players in the side and a lot of Italian born players too.
“I hope this will help more Italians and NRL-based Italians to play for us next year in the World Cup qualifiers.”