Thomas set for Wales return

The Wales v Ireland international on Saturday 22nd October at The Gnoll in Neath now looks like that it will definitely be the comeback date for dual-code Wales star Gareth Thomas.

The 37-year old Crusaders centre broke his arm in the 10-38 defeat to Hull Kingston Rovers back on July 9th. He had publically announced that he had hoped to be back for Crusaders’ last game of the season at Wigan last Friday but Wales and Crusaders coach Iestyn Harris said that he wasn’t ready.

He will be tested in the Ireland clash at The Gnoll before the Four Nations tournament starts a week later with a clash against England in Leigh.

“He’s maybe a week off full fitness,” Harris said. “It was pointless risking him for the last Crusaders game of the year and have him breaking down again. In the next month he’ll be fully fit and he’ll be ready for the training camp with Wales and for the Ireland match on October 22nd.

“The side for Ireland will be close to the team that I would hope to field against England a week later.”

Thomas has played for the Wales’ national teams in both codes. He made his international rugby union debut in 1995 and played 100 games scoring 40 tries. He made his Rugby League international debut last year and has so far scored three tries in four appearances.

He is one of a handful of players who have yet to announce their plans for 2012 following Crusaders’ withdrawal from Super League. Harris refused to comment on Thomas’ future in the game saying “You’ll have to ask him.”

Harris is expected to release his initial training squad this week but he says that it is not set it stone and that other players could be added to it should they become available.

“We’re looking at anyone who’s Welsh qualified,” he said. “Whether they are in the NRL in Australia, Super League or the Championships, they will considered.

“We’re looking at each player as an individual. It’s a massive opportunity for Welsh players to take part in an elite competition with the three best teams in the world, both as a group and individually. It’s an exciting time but it’ll testing times and there will be a lot of work to do over the next six weeks.”

Tickets for Wales v Ireland on Saturday 22nd October at The Gnoll in Neath (kick-off 6pm) are priced £5 for concessions and £10 for adults in advance, going up to £6 and £12 respectively on the day. They can be bought by going to

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