Wales players to wear rainbow laces in support of Gareth Thomas

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Wales’ national teams will show their support to former captain Gareth Thomas by wearing rainbow laces this weekend.

Thomas, who won 100 caps for his country, was the victim of a homophobic assault in Cardiff on Saturday evening.

Wales’ men’s team will wear the laces against South Africa, while the women’s team will wear them in their match against Canada and the French will make a similar gesture for their Test match against Fiji in Paris.

The Rainbow Laces campaign began in 2013, when gay rights group Stonewall invited footballers in England and Scotland to wear them, and in 2017 Wales captain Alun Wyn Jones made a public show of support by wearing the laces for his team’s clash with New Zealand.

“We are delighted to confirm that Welsh rugby is once again proudly endorsing Stonewall Cymru’s Rainbow Laces initiative throughout its two-week 2018 awareness campaign, whilst continuing to permanently support its values on a year round basis ,” said a WRU spokesperson.

“Many of our national game’s core values of respect, teamwork and sportsmanship resonate with what is at the heart of this important campaign and we remain committed to ensuring that rugby provides an inclusive and welcoming environment for all at every level of the game.

Wales v Scotland – NatWest 6 Nations – Principality Stadium
Alun Wyn Jones will lead Wales out against South Africa with rainbow laces (Paul Harding/PA)

“Our referees department will also be specifically supporting the campaign with all Premiership referees due to be wearing the laces in all Premiership fixtures over the weekend of the 1st December 2018.

“Wales’ national teams, women’s and men’s, who are in action this weekend, have also been given access to laces and will be issuing their own personal messages of support in the coming days.

Gareth Thomas went public over his homophobic attack (PA Images/Dominic Lipinski)
Gareth Thomas received an apology from a 16-year-old boy following the attack (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

Thomas, 44, who came out as gay in 2009, appeared bruised in a Twitter video, saying he was targeted because of his sexuality.

Officers dealt with a 16-year-old boy by way of restorative justice following a request by Thomas to “send a positive message”.

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