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Henry Thomas' Wales move confirmed after recall to national squad

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)

The Scarlets have announced the signing of tighthead prop Henry Thomas, a week after he was recalled to the Wales squad by Warren Gatland.

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Thomas had previously been ineligible to play for Wales after signing for French outfit Castres in January, but his selection for the national team last week suggested his move to one of the regions was imminent.

This will be the first time that the 32-year-old will play for a Welsh club, having previously played for Sale Sharks and Bath in the Gallagher Premiership during his seven-cap England career.

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Rassie Erasmus on Test at Twickenham

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Rassie Erasmus on Test at Twickenham

He was a Montpellier player when he was first selected for Wales last year, where he made his debut in red before the World Cup.

Thomas will work under his former Sale Sharks teammate Dwayne Peel at Parc y Scarlets.

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Before linking up will his new club, the prop will first take on South Africa at Twickenham on June 22 before a tour of Australia in July.

“I spoke to Peely a few months ago and the way he spoke about his vision for the club and I know the style of rugby they play, it made it an easy decision for me,” Thomas said.

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“There is so much quality in this Scarlets squad, I’m looking forward to seeing what I can add and hopefully help to compete at the top of the URC and in Europe.

“My memories of playing against Scarlets in Europe when I was at Bath were always tough ones. They had a strong pack and played quick exciting rugby, I’m excited to be a part of that.”

Peel added: “Henry will bring vast experience from the top level in England and more recently in France, where he has played a lot of games in the Top 14 for Castres and Montpellier this season.

“He is a powerful scrummager who is also a strong carrier and will add further depth to our front-row resources.

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“Bringing in an international forward can only help the young group we have at the Scarlets. We have two young tight-heads in Harri O’Connor and Sam Wainwright and an exciting group of young front-rowers coming through our academy.

“We look forward to welcoming Henry to Llanelli for pre-season.”

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J
Jon 5 hours ago
Buoyant England travel to New Zealand full of hope but are they walking into an All Blacks ambush?

> New head coach Scott Robertson has kept only forwards coach Jason Ryan and conditioning coach Nic Gill from the previous regime *and so there is little institutional knowledge inherent in the new team.* Shows you what the English know about sport. Isn’t just fantastic that the best rugby team, or brand, on the planet has three brothers playing together? One a bull, the other a dancer, and last a .. boxer? Looks like a boxer bless him. > But Robertson has been working to fix that issue, with senior players and coaches having been regularly meeting to work out how they will operate together both on and off the field to ensure there is strong decision-making and a deep understanding of how the team wants to play. Have they? I would suggest then it is not a case of fixing things, that is not what Razor does. Razor will evolve the relationship between player and coach into a more symbiotic relationship. This wont be a coach that shouts down at his players theyre not doing good enough. I can imagine one of the first key areas he will be implementing is the respective leadership for each coaching group. Tight five, Loosies, Halves, Centers, and Back Three, will each have their own leadership team and an agile approach to the playing group relaying what they believe is happening on the training paddock, and in games. It will be a very big step to get everyone involved, able, and thinking about contributing to that process, but I believe a very beneficial one if successful. > England may have their best chance to win in 21 years, but they may also be walking into an ambush – *about to be hit* by a young, gifted, supremely physical and athletic All Blacks team coached by a man who has made every post a winner so far in his career and has this uncanny knack of getting the best out of people. Or, by a group hurting from not getting over the line and proving to everyone they are the best in the world, full of experience and cohesion, grit and motivation. You only need to look at someone like Patrick Tuipulotu to see someone with a fire under his belly from missing out on the last RWC due to injury, and having lost to this opposition in the previous one. It will be very interesting to see how this ‘Razor’ plays it. Does he stick with the traditional and protect the time honored All Black values of commitment, or does he evolve and pick the best players to win the Rugby Championship - and by association this test series - like Akira Ioane?

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