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Wales rugby team to wear rainbow laces for ex-captain Gareth Thomas

Ella Braidwood November 22, 2018
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Rugby player Gareth Thomas makes a point during the Rugby League Alitalia European Cup match between Wales and Ireland.

Gareth Thomas in 2010, a year after he came out, and shortly before he retired from rugby.(Getty/Stu Forster)

Wales’ national rugby teams will sport rainbow laces in support of their former captain Gareth Thomas, who was subjected to a homophobic attack in Cardiff last week.

The Welsh Rugby Team confirmed the men’s and women’s squads will don Stonewall’s rainbow laces for Thomas in both their games on Saturday (November 24).

The women’s team will play against Canada and the men’s will take on South Africa.

“And so the support for LGBT continues. Thank you from the whole community.”

—Gareth Thomas

It comes after the French national team announced they would wear rainbow laces in solidarity with Thomas in their match against Fiji on Saturday.

“Wales & Wales Women will again support @StonewallCymru #RainbowLacesDay campaign & show their support to former captain @gareththomas14 by wearing #RainbowLaces in their fixtures this weekend,” the Welsh Rugby Union posted on Twitter.

Welsh Rugby Union posts on Twitter in support of former captain Gareth Thomas
Welsh Rugby Union posted on Twitter endorsing Stonewall’s rainbow laces campaign in solidarity with former captain Gareth Thomas. (WelshRugbyUnion/Twitter)

Gareth Thomas thanks Wales squad for support

Thomas praised his old team for wearing the laces, posting on Twitter: “And so the support for LGBT continues.Thank you from the whole community.. .”

He previously thanked the French team for their support.

Thomas posted a video on Twitter on Sunday (November 18), explaining that he was attacked in The Hayes, Cardiff City Centre, because he is gay.

“Last night I was the victim in my home city of a hate crime for my sexuality,” he said.

The sportsman had visible scratches on his head and appeared to have suffered bruising as a result of the attack.

He called for restorative justice over the attack.

Restorative justice focuses on rehabilitating offenders through reconciliation with their victims.

“I want to say thank you to the police, who were involved and allowed me to do restorative justice to the people that did this because I thought they could learn more that way,” Thomas said.

The rugby star came out as gay in 2009 and has since campaigned for LGBT rights.

According to a press release put out by South Wales Police on Sunday (November 18), a 16-year-old boy “admitted assault and was apologetic for his actions.”

On Wednesday, Thomas posted a further statement on Twitter about the impact the attack has had on his mental health, and thanked the French team for their solidarity.

Thomas wrote: “After the physical scars have healed, I feel I have to say an unbelievable THANK YOU from me and all in the LGBT community for the support I have received. Truly humbled.

“My mental scars will stay with me for some time, but will drive me to fight even more for a world where acceptance of everyone is normal.

“To the French rugby federation, merci. The players wearing rainbow laces in solidarity is an immense sign of inclusion.”

Sporting figures showed their love for Gareth Thomas

Figures from the sporting world have offered Gareth Thomas their support.

Sports presenter Gabby Logan tweeted: “Loads of love big man xx.”

Former English rugby player Maggie Alphonsi posted: “I’m so sorry this has happened to you Gareth. Thank you for speaking out about it and bringing this to our attention. It’s sad to think there are still small minded people out there.

“They are the minority but the majority are with you. You are a true role model to me and us all x.”

ITV sports presenter Jill Douglas said: “Well put Alfie [Thomas’ nickname] – very sorry you had to experience this, but a typically positive and uplifting reaction. Big❤️.”

More: France, Gareth Thomas, homophobic, homophobic attack, Rugby, Wales

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