Wales Test hopeful draws comparisons to Lions and England stars after sublime Euro performance against French giants

Welsh prop Gareth Thomas has been compared to England rugby stars Ellis Genge and Mako Vunipola.

The 28-year-old loose head has found himself on the fringes of the Wales squad for the past year after some impressive outings for the Ospreys.

And he was at his best in the region’s recent 25-10 loss to Racing 92 in the Champions Cup on Saturday.

Although the Ospreys were on the wrong end of the scoreline, a real bright spot was the tenacity with which they defended and their scrum dominance.

A key figure throughout was Thomas who, with fellow Welshman Tomas Francis on the other side, got the upper hand from the scrum, earning a number of penalties.

He has five caps to his name so far but Pivac is clearly interested and he has now drawn comparisons to established Test campaigners across the Severn Firth.

Ospreys boss Toby Booth said after Saturday’s loss: “I came in with a new face and I didn’t know anyone. There was an opportunity for people to stake a claim.

“When I started working with him it was obvious to me that – he’s going to hate me for saying that – he reminds me of a lot of English blusters.

“People like Beno Obano, who I worked with before, Ellis Genge, Mako Vunipola – they are dynamic players and they bring a change of pace.

“He is [Thomas] got this because he wants to compete.

“Nicky Smith went on and was a destructive scrummer, got two breakdown turnovers and they get the best out of each other.

“These loose positions have a huge influence on the game.”

Another to impress despite the loss was young hooker Dewi Lake, who has just returned from a lengthy ankle injury.

The former Under-20 skipper has long been seen as a player with a lot of potential, especially on the free, but line-up work remains a concern.

It remained a concern at Swansea.com Stadium and a knockdown led to a Racing try-clincher.

But Booth will continue to support the 22-year-old, who started as a back rower.

“A hooker is judged mainly around his set piece, as always, and it’s always a journey, especially for a convert,” the Ospreys boss said.

“I invested a lot of time, tested him a lot last year before he got injured, which is fantastic.

“It’s his base, his bread and his butter.

“But the most important thing for him is the collision, he wants to win every moment, he is a competitor.

“He carries the ball, he has the front foot and he creates defensive pressure in the breakdown.

“Those two are very attractive attributes to have as a tight forward.

“Gareth Thomas has a very similar attitude. These modern players are about to compete at every opportunity that comes their way.

Want the latest Welsh rugby news sent straight to you? Look no further.

.

Leave a Comment