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Gareth Thomas set to join Rugby League team



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Gareth Thomas, the most capped player in Wales history and one of sport’s most high-profile gay men, is set to switch codes and end his illustrious career playing rugby league for Crusaders.

The Wales-based Super League franchise have scheduled a press conference for Friday at which they are expected to announced that Thomas, 35, will join them when his current deal with Cardiff expires in May.

The move would make Thomas, who has won 100 caps and captained both his country and the British and Irish Lions, the most famous player to switch to league since union went professional in 1995.

The move will inevitably be greeted with scepticism in some quarters, however. Thomas is 36 in July and has never played league before, suggesting he may not find it easy to adapt to the different tactical and physical demands of the 13-man game.

Crusaders have this season moved to Wrexham in north Wales from the union heartlands of the south and, under the leadership of former Wigan and Great Britain coach Brian Noble, have made a positive start to their second season in Super League.

Thomas went public about his sexuality in December when he revealed that the pressure of leading a double life had driven him to the brink of suicide.

His decision to come out has been widely applauded and, ironically, his decision to switch codes is likely to prove more controversial with many union fans.

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