Originally from Bridgend in Wales, Gareth 'Alfie' Thomas has become one of the most iconic figures in world rugby. His career began in a small youth club in Bridgend, and has since rocketed into the sport's stratospheres, with his 1995 debut for Wales marking the beginning of an exceptional international career.
The versatile player has done it all in the game, with a staggering list of achievements to his name: he has over 100 caps for his home country; he is 13th highest try scorer in the world, and is one of just 7 players to have scored 4 tries in a match; he was captain of Wales' Grand Slam winning team in 2005, and also captained the British & Irish Lions tour of New Zealand that year. In 2005, he was named BBC Wales Sports Personality of the Year in recognition of his outstanding achievements.
In 2010, Gareth Thomas made the historic switch to rugby league when he signed with the Crusaders. His performances were nothing short of remarkable, earning 6 Welsh Rugby League caps. He retired from professional rugby in 2011.
Gareth Thomas' personal life hit the headlines in December 2009 when, at 35 years old, he famously revealed to the world that he was gay. This iconic revelation made him the first openly gay high profile sportsman in the UK. To come out in the macho world of rugby was, at the time, extraordinary. Since then, he has counselled other athletes on coming out, including a few footballers.
Although Gareth never downplays the significance of this achievement, he hopes to see a day when it is no longer an issue in the game at all.
He is a regular analyst for ITV Sport and has worked on the 2011 and 2015 and 2019 Rugby world cups as well as numerous RBS 6 Nations coverage.
In August 2010 he was voted top of the Pink List for the 101 Most Influential Gay People in the UK, and was voted Stonewall Hero of the Year 2010 too.
In 2019, Gareth further inspired the nation when he announced that he is living with HIV. His revelation was welcomed as an important step in breaking down stigma and helping the world better understand the subject.