Gareth Thomas, the Welsh rugby star who came out at the end of last year, has said he hopes to find a boyfriend.

Thomas shocked the sports world when he came out in December in an interview with the Daily Mail.

In his first gay interview, with Attitude magazine, he revealed that despite looking like “a tough f**ker”, he had a lot of love to give.

Thomas said: “I know a lot of gay men are looking for love. I’ve done this as well in the hope that I can find somebody.

“The thought now is exciting; sitting down to watch telly, to cuddle up to somebody, to be able to show affection to somebody is exciting.”

“Externally I may look like a tough f**ker but emotionally I’m as soft as… I’m caring… I’ve got a lot of love to give…. I wouldn’t be ashamed to walk down the street hand in hand with someone.”

He said he hoped to become a part of the gay community and enjoy people’s respect for coming out.

Thomas also suggested that the Daily Mail had run the story of him coming out to counteract some of the negative press it has had in the last few months.

Daily Mail columnist Jan Moir provoked outrage from gay and straight people alike when she wrote about gay Boyzone singer Stephen Gately’s “sleazy” death.

Thomas said: “I am sure they were aware that running this story could help reverse some of the negative press around the Stephen Gately story.

“Whether they have I don’t know [because] some things probably hurt too bad. I said to the writer at the end, if you have children, all I ask if when you read this, if it was your son would you as a mother be proud of it, if it is you’ve done it right – and my mother said she was proud of it. It’s a way of talking to their readers who may have preconceptions and show them my reality and I hope that makes them think.”

Contrary to rumours, he said he had not been forced into coming out of the closet because the media was about to out him.

He said: “I have got no reason to come out. I haven’t got a boyfriend, I’ve got no kids, I’ve not been pressured, I haven’t been caught doing anything… none of that. I’m doing it because I want people to be able to be free to be gay.”

The 35-year-old star, who is the most-capped Welsh player, said in December that since coming out, he had had an “amazing response” from the public.

Attitude magazine is out today.