Injury mars Thomas debut

Gareth Thomas lasted little more than 30 minutes in his rugby league debut at Wrexham last night before going off with what looked like concussion.

"I'm fine now. I wanted to get back on at the end," said Thomas after the Crusaders' victory. "It's really and truly a great game to play."

"He got a couple of bangs, but to do what he's done in seven days is a fabulous effort," said the Crusaders coach, Brian Noble. "I'm confident he'll be a super player for us."

There was none of the old-fashioned, easy introduction from the bench for the Welshman. Instead, he was thrown right in at the deep end, starting on the right wing, with a good proportion of the crowd there to see how he performed. The first signs, though, were not propitious; on his first carry, Thomas lost possession in the course of a painfully slow play-the-ball.

To his credit and despite needing frequent running repairs, he showed an obvious appetite for involvement after that, even spending a surprising amount of time at dummy-half. It was, however, the more seasoned rugby league skills of Lincoln Withers and Michael Witt that set up the only try of the first half, for Jason Chan.

In the 32nd minute Thomas carried the ball into the tackle, but keeled over after playing the ball and was helped off with what looked like severe concussion. Welcome to Super League.

However, Witt extended Crusaders' lead with a penalty after a high tackle by Jamal Fakir was punished, and with or without Thomas they looked relatively secure against an uninspired French outfit.

But the visitors made their mark on proceedings when Olivier Elima did well to pluck a kick out of the air to touch down early in the second half, with Grégory Mounis stepping up to add the goal.

Crusaders' response to having their lead trimmed to two points was to turn the screw, but despite a long spell of pressure, they failed to produce any points. Their breakthrough came just 10 minutes from time, however, when Peter Lupton, the home side's outstanding player, ran on to Withers' pass to plunge over.

Crusaders: Kear; Thomas, Martin, Mellars, Dyer; Lupton, Witt; O'Hara, Withers, Bryant, Chan, Hauraki, Trimarchi. Substitutes used: Thackray, Flower, Youngquest, Winternstein.

Catalan Dragons: Guasch; Bell, Raguin, Pelo, Stacul; Sa, McGuire; Ferriol, Bentley, Carlaw, Elima, Gossard, Johnson. Substitutes used: Guisset, Mounis, Fakir, Gigot.

Referee: T Alibert (Toulouse).

BUY RUGBY WORLD CUP TICKETS

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent