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Dan’s the man for Cardiff as he heads home to renew old rivalry

Dan Thomas in action for Scarlets in 2022

Dan’s the man for Cardiff as he heads home to renew old rivalry

Dan Thomas will resume his rivalry with Thomas Young when he arrives at the Arms Park this summer after joining Cardiff Rugby from Bristol Bears.

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The 30-year-old back row man has spent the majority of his professional career playing in the west country at Gloucester and Bristol. The west Wales farmer launched his career at Llanelli but will return to play in the Welsh capital.

The winner of 17 caps for Wales U20 in 2012 and 2013, Thomas played with 22 players who have gone on to win international honours. Among them were Young, the recently retired Ellis Jenkins and Luke Hamilton, who played for Scotland.

He featured in Wales U20 teams that beat South Africa, New Zealand and reached the 2013 final. In all, he won 11 of his 17 games for Wales.

Had he not been playing in one of the most competitive positions in Welsh rugby he might well have followed so many of his younger teammates into the senior Wales side. There are those at Bristol who believe he was worthy of being given at shot.

He made 144 appearances over seven seasons for the Bears, many of them in tandem with Callum Sheedy, who is also joining Cardiff for the 2024-25 campaign. They both joined forces in the side that won the EPCR Challenge Cup in Aix-en-Provence in October 2020, beating RC Toulon 32-19.

They are two very astute signings that will bring experience, maturity and class to Matt Sherratt’s squad.

“I had a great time at Bristol and hold so many fond memories, but I am now really excited to join Cardiff and have the opportunity to represent such a great club,” said Thomas.

“I’m a proud Welshman and to be able to return home to play with Cardiff was a big pull in my decision. I’ve been really impressed by the brand of rugby Cardiff play and feel it suits my own attributes and playing style.

“Being able to play in the URC is also something that appealed to me given the challenge of going up against so many different playing styles in different countries and environments.”

Thomas cut his teeth in senior club rugby at Llanelli between 2011-14, making 76 appearances, and also fitted in 11 games for the Scarlets. He made his URC debut in the 2012-13 season before heading to Gloucester in 2014.

He returned to play two games on loan for the Scarlets in the 2022-23 campaign but will be back in the thick of Welsh rugby next season for the first time in over a decade.

“I’m really pleased to bring Dan on board ahead of next season and feel he is a really good fit for the club. He comes from a good environment, where he has played more than 140 games and won silverware but also arrives with a point to prove in Wales,” said Sherratt.

“He suits our attacking playing style as a fast and dynamic openside, who is effective on both sides of the ball and has a lot of experience from the Premiership. Although already very experienced he is highly motivated to prove a point in Wales.

“He’ll compete hard for a place in our backrow while helping both the young players in his position and those alongside him.”

Thomas will be vying with his old adversary, Thomas Young, and James Botham for the number seven jersey. They will also have Gwilym Bradley and Lucas de la Rua snapping at their heels.

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Dan’s the man for Cardiff as he heads home to renew old rivalry