Thomas released by WRU

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The Independent Online

The Welsh Rugby Union has finally ended the saga of Gareth Thomas's move to Toulouse by allowing him to join the Heineken Cup finalists.

The Welsh Rugby Union has finally ended the saga of Gareth Thomas's move to Toulouse by allowing him to join the Heineken Cup finalists.

Toulouse's hopes of signing the Wales full-back appeared to have have been dashed in April, when they were unable to agree a fee with Celtic Warriors owner Leighton Samuel, who wanted £200,000 for the player. The French side offered half that amount, which was eventually accepted, only for the Warriors to enter liquidation in June because of insurmountable financial problems.

News of the regional side's demise made Toulouse believe they could sign Thomas for free - but the WRU declared otherwise. They had bought out the Warriors and insisted that as the agreement for Thomas had been made before the Bridgend-based team had been disbanded, the £100,000 payment still had to be made. The ensuing deadlock has left Thomas - Wales's record try-scorer - in limbo, but the WRU chairman, David Pickering, yesterday promised an end to the issue.

"I can confirm the WRU will be signing the necessary release forms to enable Gareth Thomas to join Toulouse," he said. "We are taking a mature stance and we have taken into consideration Gareth's welfare."

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