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Wed 22 May

League is toughest code, says Thomas

League is toughest code, says Thomas

Welsh dual-code legend Gareth Thomas has revealed his love for Rugby League, describing it as by far the toughest of the two codes.

Thomas made 100 appearances for Wales as a Union player before switching codes to sign for Crusaders.

The convert was rewarded for an assured start to his League career with a call-up to the Dragons squad, where he played an integral role in the nation’s qualification for the Four Nations.

Having helped earn Wales a place at international Rugby League’s top table, Thomas took the decision to hang up his boots, though he remains directly connected to League through his role as an official ambassador for Rugby League World Cup 2013.

“Whether or not I switched at the right time, and if I should have done it later, will always be the million dollar question,” he told the RLWC2013 Ezine, when asked if he regretted not switching sooner.

“When I turned to League I didn’t realise how much of an amazing game it is, and how much fun it is to play.

“But when I look back on my career I don’t want to be thinking about what I might have done with hindsight. I’ve got some brilliant memories from representing my country in League and Union” 
“I made some great friends and achieved some great things. We went to France and went to the Four Nations the year after.

“I can look back on my career and say that there are things I wish I’d done and things I wish I hadn’t done, but ultimately I speak today as a proud Welshman who achieved his sporting goals.”

Thomas was in good company following his decision to play Rugby League, training alongside fellow countryman Gil Dudson, Lloyd White and Elliot Kear, plus a host of other young Welsh stars, at Crusaders.
But the star of Big Brother and Dancing On Ice admits the first few weeks were tough.

“I got absolutely grilled at my first training session with Crusaders,” he said.

“I got the phonecall from Iestyn telling me to come down for about 2.00pm, and I thought ‘that’s OK, I’ve watched the sport before and I know I can do it’, so I went to the gym before, and rocked up ready for training.

“I have to say I have never been so tired in my entire life. I knew that it was a case of proving myself again and that was the determination I had.

“But in no way, shape or form did I realise it would be that tough. From that day forward I began to understand just how tough the game is.

“You have to be mentally tough, and capable of putting your body on the line for the guy standing next to you.”

Having played at the highest level in League and Union, Thomas is well-qualified to compare the two codes.
And the Bridgend-born icon says there’s no competition when it comes to intensity and toughness.

“Without a doubt Rugby League was the most physically demanding sport, and that’s statistically speaking, without the need for argument.

“I started off as a winger and also played centre, and in a top Rugby Union game, like a Heineken Cup or World Cup, I’d make ten carries a game if I was lucky and six or seven tackles.

“In your average Rugby League game you could pretty much triple every action, so statistically it has to be much more physically demanding.

“When I played a game of Rugby League I’d look at the clock and think ‘where have those minutes gone?’ because you just don’t have time to check anything,” he continued.

“So in terms of action I’d take Rugby League over Union any day of the week. If I have more action I have more input into the game.

“I love both games, but, more than anything, Union is ruled by the rules and League is ruled by the game. In League you play the game, in Union you play the rules.”

Wales face Italy at the Millennium Stadium on October 26, USA at the Glyndwr University Racecourse Stadium on November 3 and Cook Islands at The Gnoll on November 10.

Tickets are now on sale for RLWC2013, with 55% of tickets priced £20 or less. To make sure you will BE THERE buy now at www.rlwc2013.com/tickets or call our 24 Hour Ticket Hotline on 0844 847 2013.

League is toughest code, says Thomas

Results

Rugby League World Cup
Sat 23 NovNew Zealand 20-18 England
Sun 17 NovSamoa 4-22 Fiji
Sat 16 NovEngland 34-6 France
Fri 15 NovNew Zealand 40-4 Scotland
Mon 11 NovFrance 6-22 Samoa
Sun 10 NovWales 24-28 Cook Islands
Sat 09 NovEngland 34-12 Fiji
Fri 08 NovNew Zealand 56-10 Papua New Guinea
Thu 07 NovScotland 22-8 USA
Tue 05 NovTonga 22-16 Cook Islands

more results