Rugby Union: Thomas reaffirms ambition

Swansea 63 Ebbw Vale 3
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The Independent Online
ARWEL THOMAS knows all about the demands and expectations of playing at No 10 for Wales. The good news for the Wales coach, Kevin Bowring, is that the Swansea player is ready to measure up to his responsibilities.

Three days after reaching one of the lowest points of his career, when he was relegated to the Wales A team for this week's Five Nations trip to Ireland, he responded with 18 points to put Swansea even further ahead at the top of the Welsh Premier Division.

Dropped after the ignominious defeat at Twickenham, Thomas bounced back to become a replacement match-winner for Wales against the Scots at Wembley. It did not matter, however, because the player so often heralded as a genius was dumped unceremoniously.

For a moment he did wonder whether he had a future with Wales, whether or not he could motivate himself to go through the emotional turmoil. Now there is only one thought in his mind: "To get back into the Welsh side. I thought about my future, but as soon as it sunk in that I wouldn't be involved in Ireland I realised that the Welsh XV is where I really want to be," he said.

On Saturday, Thomas was the orchestrator of a wonderfulperformance, the man around which everything happened. Nine tries helped make it Swansea's biggest league win of the season.

There were two tries apiece for Garin Jenkins, Scott Gibbs and Paul Moriarty, but the only player to rival Thomas was the rejuvenated No 8, Stuart Davies. Recalled as a replacement against Ireland, the 32- year-old warhorse covered every inch of the pitch in a thunderous performancecrowned by a try and an ovation when he was substituted.

Swansea: Tries Jenkins 2, Gibbs 2, Moriarty 2, R Rees, S Davies, Maullin; Conversions Thomas 6; Penalty Thomas; Drop Thomas. Ebbw Vale: Drop Hayward.

Swansea: D Weatherley (L Davies, 73); R Rees, M Taylor, S Gibbs, R Wintle; A Thomas, A Booth (R Jones, 43); J Evans (I Buckett, 59), G Jenkins (capt), C Anthony, P Arnold, A Moore (T Maullin, 59), P Moriarty, S Davies (C Wells, 75), C Charvis (D Thomas, 56).

Ebbw Vale: S Taumololo; L Woodard, J Funnell, J Strange, A Harries; B Hayward (capt) (J Hawker, 34), D Llewellyn; A Phillips (I Thomas, 49), S Jones (L Phillips, 49), M Wilson, C Billen, K Faletau (N Thomas, 62), P Pook, M Jones, R Collins (G Green, 74).

Referee: H Lewis (Bridgend).