It doesn’t seem like almost two decades since the 20-year-old Welsh forward tore huge holes in the defense of the All Blacks during an unforgettable World Cup match in Sydney.
“Wales No. 6 was something else,” said a member of the New Zealand coaching team. 6ft 5in, 17st 5lb Jonathan Thomas really deserved such a description and shocked Kiwi not only with his energy back at the 2003 global tournament, but also with his ability to cut tools.
He has not worked in Welsh rugby for almost ten years, has moved to England to complete his playing career and start a new life as a coach. However, he will retire as a player next month to appear in a game with the testimony of his old friend James Hook.
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The match will take place at The Gnoll on June 10 with James Hook Select XV and Classic Lions XV. Hooke’s team will include Shane Williams and Mike Phillips, who will be joined by Thomas. Colin Charvis, Nick Williams, Ma’ama Molitika and Aled Brew are also involved.
“I’m looking forward to it,” says Thomas WalesOnline. “James has been a great teammate over the years and has remained a great friend.
“As a player, he was able to do things on the field that were extraordinary. He was an entertainer, but he knew how to win games. Covid took his chance to say goodbye in an Ospreys shirt. But this game gives him a chance to perform under the right conditions and it is my privilege to play for his team. ”
Thomas himself resigned as a player in 2015 after being diagnosed with a form of epilepsy caused by a head injury. But his condition has improved.
He trained for Bristol Bears for four years and before leaving earlier this year became team leader at Worcester Warriors. He can’t comment on his departure from Sixways, he takes a break from rugby, but he’s only 39 and still has ambitions in the game.
“I still think I have something to offer as a coach,” he said. “It’s a competitive market, but if there are any opportunities, I’ll consider them and always listen to what people say.”
Thomas has been constrained 67 times in Wales, but it has never been clear why the test career of the six-time winner of the six Grand Slam countries ended 2008. for South Africa, but Thomas had a groin problem that took a long time to resolve.
“These things happen in rugby,” Thomas said. “I played my last match for Wales in 2011. The irony was that at that time my groin problem started to improve, but Wales had a difficult series of results and the Gats were under slight pressure.” He decided to go to the World Cup with the youth, and people like Sam Warburton, Taulupe Faletau and Jonathan Davies were proud of him. After that, it was difficult to return to the lineup.
“But I’m not bitter in the slightest.” I spent eight great years with Wales and have been with the Ospreys for over ten years and have made lifelong friends. My beginnings with Swansea, playing in a team that included people like Scott Gibbs and Colin Charvis, were also special. It’ll be good to catch up with some Ospreys guys like Shane and Mike in James’ game. “
Tickets are only online and can be purchased at jameshooktestimonal.com and neathrfc.com.