Wales legend confident of League success - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Wales legend confident of League success

06/03/2010 06:50:30 AM Comments (0)

Welsh rugby union legend Gareth Thomas said on Friday he was confident of being a success in league after confirming that he was switching codes to play for Super League franchise Crusaders.

Thomas, who will be 36 in July, dismissed suggestions he is too old to adapt to the different physical and tactical requirements of the 13-man code after signing a contract to the end of this year with an option to play through 2011.

The switch will take effect immediately after Cardiff Blues agreed to release him from the two months remaining on his contract and the former British and Irish Lions captain is likely to make his Super League debut against Catalans Dragons at Wrexham's Racecourse Ground on March 19.

"I've still got a hunger to play," said Thomas, who has shelved plans to go into coaching after a union career in which he won 100 caps.

"I don't want to be sitting in the stand, I want to be out on the field. I don't want to be shouting at someone, I want to be the one to be shouted at.

"That's where my passion lies. I'm as hungry as I was when I was 18.

"I wouldn't expect to come here on a two-year contract. It's new for me and obviously there's going to be some scepticism from both parties, but it's another incentive for me to be successful because I want to be here for two years."

Crusaders head coach Brian Noble, the former Bradford, Wigan and Great Britain coach, denied he was taking a huge gamble by signing Thomas.

"I think Gareth Thomas is a fabulous player who has all the attributes to succeed in rugby league," he said. "He's big and he's strong, has great footwork and he is not afraid to put in a shift in defence either.

"His skill levels are phenomenal and he brings a wealth of experience that you just can't buy. He will add a lot to the team as well as improving the profile of the game here in Wales."

Thomas, arguably the highest-profile gay man in sport, said he did not expect his homosexuality, which he made public in December, to result in any problems in his new environment.

"Team people are the same everywhere you go in the world," he said. "I feel safe in the team of coaches and team of players that's around me.

"Whatever comes from the outside world comes from the outside world, it's about me being safe and comfortable in my team environment and in the short time I've been here that's the way I feel about it."

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