With the Crusaders obviously still looking to strengthen due to their off the field problems that have shortened their pre-season preparation, there has been news linking them with Gareth Thomas.
The former Wales Rugby Union International and current Cardiff Blues player is out of contract in May, and at 35 is being touted for a possible code switch to join the Crusaders in Wrexham.
Thomas is a great player and I don’t doubt that even at the age of 35 (36 this year) he could make some form of impact for the Crusaders in Super League and I certainly would wish him luck if he made the switch.
A high profile Rugby Union switch would also be great for League given the players over the years that have been tempted by the higher earnings and larger international stage and moved to Union. But is Thomas the right man?
The problem for me is where it will leave some of the ever gloating Rugby Union contingent. If Thomas comes over plays ok and doesn’t really do much, retires at the end of the season aged 36 then everyone says hey that was nice. Union fans will say he wasn’t a loss at the end of his career.
However if he comes across and does well, it opens up the floodgates for another round of school yard name calling that Super League can’t be all that tough if a player deemed surplus to requirements and over the hill in Rugby Union can come and have an impact.
The rumour mill has also linked Crusaders with Gavin Henson the currently out of favour Welsh centre; now that is more the type of move that would make the right headlines for the game. Sure he is out of favour with Wales at the moment but he is only 28 and still has time left to play in Union so to tempt him to switch would be a good move.
That appears to be only newspaper talk, but if clubs are going to make moves for Union players then ideally they should be looking at players who aren’t past their best or at the end of their careers.
Personally I would like to see Thomas move and I would never wish he didn’t do well, at 36 I think he will struggle with the pace of top level Rugby Leauge but with him I hope he can bring interest from Wales and help strength the growing franchise that is the Crusaders.