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Thomas Moves To Toulouse

Thomas Moves To Toulouse

Welsh international Gareth Thomas will play his club rugby next season with reigning European champions Toulouse.

Wales’s record try scorer Gareth Thomas got
his dream
move to European champions Toulouse on Tuesday but only after his
present club
The Warriors and the Welsh Rugby Union agreed to an increased
package from the French outfit.

They got the deal they wanted for the 29-year-old Wales fullback –
of 34 tries in 77 tests and who had an excellent World Cup – after
talks with Toulouse, who will defend their European title against
champions Wasps on May 23, last Friday.
“We got what we wanted,” Warriors chief executive
Leighton Samuel told BBC
Radio after concluding a deal believed to be in the region of 200,000
(250,000 dollars) which will also include the gate receipts from a
with Toulouse.

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“I’ve spoken to Gareth and to the Union and we’ve all agreed
he can go.”

Thomas – who had two years to run on his contract – joins Wales
Colin Charvis in France, the latter having joined second divison
Tarbes prior
to last year’s World Cup, and with fly-half Stephen Jones being
linked to

The agreement is thought to be double the original offer by
Toulouse which
was contested by the WRU as they are 50% stakeholders in the
and were reluctant to allow such a high quality player move abroad
but with
the extra money and the fact Thomas was determined to leave they

“It wasn’t about money,” Samuel said. “I would have put together a financial package to match

“David Moffett (WRU group chief executive) and myself both
agree that we
did all we could to keep Gareth in Wales.

“It was a lifestyle thing. Gareth feels he has two-to-three
years left in
him and wants to experience French rugby.

“Who can blame him? He has achieved everything in Welsh
domestic rugby and
I imagine Toulouse is a very nice place to live.

“Funding is an issue, though. Toulouse have a wage bill in
the region of
3-4 million pounds per year and we cannot compete with that in

Samuel is confident that Thomas will continue playing for Wales
just as
Charvis has – and he has not ruled out the possibility of his
returning to the

“Playing for Wales is paramount to Gareth, that will have
been in his
contract and there are plenty more international caps and tries to
come for
him,” said Samuel.

“If he is not happy in Toulouse we have a clause in his
contract that he
will come straight back to the Warriors – I hope to see him around

AFP – 2004.