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Henry Thomas on the verge of Wales return – report

By Josh Raisey
Henry Thomas of Wales celebrates after winning the Rugby World Cup France 2023 match between Wales and Australia at Parc Olympique on September 24, 2023 in Lyon, France. (Photo by Paul Harding/Getty Images)

Castres tighthead prop Henry Thomas is set to sign for the Scarlets, according to WalesOnline.

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The 32-year-old has been representing Castres for the latter half of this season having joined from Top 14 rivals Montpellier in January, but will reportedly make the move to the United Rugby Championship at the end of the season.

The Wales prop was eligible to play international rugby while at Montpellier, as he was uncapped when he joined the club, but his move to Castres rendered him ineligible to play Test rugby. However, this potential move back to Wales will make him available to be selected by Warren Gatland again.

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Thomas made his Wales debut last August, nine years after the last of his seven caps for England. He went on to make Wales’ World Cup squad, playing in two matches in France, before missing out on the group for the Guinness Six Nations, with his move to Castres being announced just hours after failing to make the cut for Wales.

Wales’ lack of front-row depth was brutally exposed at times during the Championship though, meaning Thomas would surely be in with a shout of making a return should the move to Scarlets come to fruition.

Fixture
United Rugby Championship
Zebre
18 - 32
Full-time
Scarlets
All Stats and Data

Thomas would be the second prop to agree to move to Parc y Scarlets should he sign, with Scotland and Exeter Chiefs loosehead Alec Hepburn already signed up to join Dwayne Peel’s side.

There are significant front-row outgoings at the club too, with Wyn Jones, Joe Jones and Steff Thomas all leaving at the end of the season, on top of Samson Lee’s retirement midway through the season.

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J
Jon 1 hours ago
British & Irish Lions free agent open to Super Rugby switch

There are a couple of teams who could use a stop gap experienced head. Blues - I’m not sure the Blues have signed a replacement for Caleb Tangitau (if he hasn’t been let go to make room for Barrett) yet, or whether Reiko is going on sabbatical and/or will remain in the squad. With exciting young French player Xavi Taele looking destined for higher honors in black, talented breakthrough rookie Cory Evan’s, and a couple of utilities, in AJ Lam and Bryce Heem(even Clarke?), all trying to learn the midfield trade, Williams could be a great aid. The Blues signed key English center Joe Marchant before he was raised to that level, and were possibly in the hunt to bring back the dependable Tele’a from the Highlanders. Possible the main squeeze which would put to bed any signing here would be the battle at 10 with Beauden’s return, and the forcing of Plummer back into the midfield. Hurricanes - Jordie Barrett is off to Leinster for a sabbatical next year but the more likely signing would be Billy’s brother back in the team. The Hurricanes are light on the outside with the loss of Salesi Rayasi to the Top 14 and if no quality is found to back up Kini Naholo, the midfield of Sullivan or Proctors could find themselves on the wing and space for a leader to show the Hurricanes three All Black midfield hopefuls (Higgins, Proctor, Umaga-Jensen) how its done. Highlanders - Rotation is high as usual at the Highlanders and versatility remains a strength with a lot of the squad. With compatriot Rhys Patchell signing a move to the JRLO, the passing of outside back Connor Garden-Bachop, and confirmed departure of Argentine wing Martin Bogado, the versatility of many of the young backups in the squad could see a veteran 12 like Williams being a strong partner for the robust Tele’a. With hope that the other Umaga-Jensen brother can force him out of the starting lineup, and shifting the sides general Sam Gilbert back into 10, the off-contract midfielder might seen as the perfect option for a squad still looking to fill one back spot.

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