Dec 19, 2009 8:33 AM GMT
Wales and Lions full-back Gareth Thomas reveals he is gay
The most capped male Welsh rugby international of all time, Gareth Thomas, has admitted to being gay.
By Graham Clutton
Published: 11:53PM GMT 18 Dec 2009
Wales and Lions full-back Gareth Thomas admits he is gay
Eager to avoid stereotypes Gareth Thomas 'does want to be known as a gay rugby player' Photo: PA
Thomas, who currently plays for Cardiff Blues, has chosen to come out after a number of years during which rumours over his sexuality have been rife within the game.
It's understood that he will be the first openly gay professional rugby player still playing the game.
Thomas, a former Wales captain, told his wife he was gay in the summer 2006 and has admitted that his marriage started to fall apart before problems came to a head in November 2006 following a Wales international match in Cardiff when he broke down in tears in the changing room at the Millennium Stadium.
Thomas opened his heart to the Wales coach Scott Johnson who then confided in Thomas' fellow senior Wales internationals Stephen Jones and Martyn Williams.
Thomas told the Daily Mail: "I was like a ticking bomb. I thought I could suppress it, keep it locked away in some dark corner of myself but I couldn't. It was who I was and I just couldn't ignore it any more.
"I'd been through every emotion under the sun trying to deal with this. It's been really tough for me hiding who I really am, but I don't want it to be like that for the next young person who wants to play rugby."
Johnson and Williams patted him on the back and said: "We don't care, why didn't you tell us before?"
He then told team-mates at Cardiff Blues, who have all supported him during his time at the Arms Park and now the Cardiff City Stadium.
It had come as a major surprise to all in Welsh rugby when Thomas' chose not to come out in his autobiography Alfie.
Thomas, capped 100 times by Wales, has enjoyed a colourful playing career which began with at his home-town club of Bridgend, took him to Cardiff and then back to the Brewery Field with the Celtic Warriors.
When the region disbanded, Thomas moved across the Channel to Toulouse and finally moved back to the Welsh capital where he is currently playing for the Blues.