‘Game-changing’ Welsh international trained by lifting giant mountain dog


Rocky trained with his dog in the most famous boxing film in cinema.

He didn’t squat with said pooch.

Cut to Gareth Thomas during lockdown.

Without proper home gym facilities, the Ospreys accessory also trained with his dog.

He did squats with him.

Eat your heart, Sylvester Stallone.

Video footage shows Thomas picking up his giant Bernese mountain dog Bernie, crouching down and lifting the 9th 6lb (60kg) mountain dog several times.

“He helped me during that time,” Thomas laughed this week.

“I didn’t have a lot of weight with me so I had to pick him up and he’s a big boy.

“He weighs around 60 kilograms, a decent weight.

“I would lift him up and do squats.

“He’s helped my scrum a lot over the past few years as well, doing individual scrums in the garden!”

The clip of a prop and her dog training proved popular on social media, with Thomas joking: He is famous on Insta. I remain humble. ”

Perhaps the unusual routine should be recommended: in less than a year, Thomas won his first Welsh selection.

Then again, the big man did a lot of more conventional work under Duncan Jones and Toby Booth at the Ospreys as well. The results were evident against Connacht in Galway earlier in the year when the introduction of West Walian to the bench coincided with a surprising turnaround in his side’s scrum, with the Ospreys suddenly pushing the hosts back at a pace of knots and victories. – coin penalties as if they were old-fashioned.

Newcastle product Emlyn Thomas, who also spent time with Carmarthen Quins, also made an impact against the same opposition at the Sportsground last time around, defending well and helping to boost the Ospreys’ melee.

Wales called him to their squad in the fall, with Thomas playing against Fiji and Australia.

A yellow card against the Wallabies, for a clearance that some believed deserved a red, was a big talking point, as was the case with Wales defending a narrow lead and the perfectly balanced game.

When Australia scored four minutes after the start of the card, Thomas’ afternoon seemed to be heading for a miserable end. Watching from the sideline, a player who once said he wanted invisibility because his superpower could have been forgiven for hoping he could disappear on the spot.

Did he think, during those endless 10 minutes off the field, “Crikey, did I miss everything?”

Well, no, actually.

Now he’s saying, “Things like that happen in a game. How many cards have there been in international matches over the past year? At least my intention to reach the ruck was there. It was just unfortunate where my hand position was.

“I was very disappointed and thought about the impact it would have on the result.

“I was also thinking about how I wouldn’t let that affect my game when I got back.

“We did really well in the end to get the win. We had to work for it.”

Gareth Thomas of Wales receives yellow card from referee Mike Adamson

Of the call to spell him in the cooler, which many believe could have been something worse, he added: “It could have been yellow, red or nothing.

“There was no intention, but with the speed of things and their man’s position, things like that happen in the game. It was just a shame that I was a little late and couldn’t not position myself in the best way. “

Wayne Pivac shouldn’t dwell on it.

Thomas had drawn attention six days earlier against Fiji, adding zest and power on the pitch which helped spark the late push that saw Wales win with a rather flattering score.

His Ospreys head coach Toby Booth felt the game against the Islanders underscored Thomas’ worth.

“People are talking about his yellow card against Australia, but when you look at the week before when he came off the bench against Fiji he was a game-changer,” said Booth, who did not see the incident. against the Wallabies as something like a capital offense.

“It’s part of being a competitor.

“You have to control that, of course, but he was instrumental against 14 men to change the energy of the team.

“I’d much rather talk about trying to calm someone down than waking them up.”

Gareth Thomas in action for the Ospreys

Booth continued, “Gareth has a competitive advantage over him.

“He flaunts it regularly in training and at the gym.

“We’re trying to be more attack oriented and he has good skills and brings something different to the loosehead accessory position.”

The Ospreys, of course, had a golden period where they had a solid scrum, with Adam Jones, Richard Hibbard and Paul James in the foreground, with Duncan Jones another devilishly difficult prop to defeat. Under Booth, the region of South West Wales is trying to return to these great frontline traditions.

“There is a saying in the Premiership in England – ‘no scrum, no luck’,” said Booth.

“We are talking about the fundamentals.

“If you don’t have anything when you go through two or three layers of what’s on your loose-headed and tight-headed, you could lose the game without even making a pass or tackle.

“I made this mistake in my previous Premiership life by hiring a lot of nice people and not enough grunts.

“You have to give everyone a big chance to show what they can do with their first foot.”

Hence the importance of having a solid pool of props, something Booth thinks he will acquire with Thomas, Nicky Smith and Rhodri Jones covering the head free end and Tomas Francis, Tom Botha and Ma’afu Fia on the head flank. tight.

Competition is on all concerned.

Thomas, for his part, fully understands the importance of delivering regionally. If he doesn’t, Smith or Jones will step in and his Welsh hopes will go up in smoke.

But, as the poet almost said, what is this life if, full of care, a freshly-haired rugby player does not have time to savor the key moments of his career?

Thomas certainly enjoyed the experience of appearing for Wales in the tests which have just been played.

“It was awesome,” he said. “I liked it.

“I won my first caps this summer, but there were 8,000 people in the stadium. This fall was packed, with 65,000 to 70,000 people. It was an incredible experience, I would love to restart.”

It is up to Pivac to decide if this will happen.

Wales head coach names his team for the Six Nations in January and the challenge for Thomas will be to appear there.

“I look forward to every opportunity I receive,” he said.

“I wasn’t involved with Wales at the start of the fall so my biggest thing now is to work on things that I need to work on, to join the team from the start.”

The 18th 8-pounder didn’t win his first cap until the age of 27, but never gave up hope.

“I didn’t think it escaped my notice,” he said.

“I’m still young for my job.

“That’s all I want since I was a kid. If I was in my 30s, I would still want a cap. All rugby players feel the same. It’s your dream.”

Dream come true, then.

But that won’t cut off Thomas’ appetite.

The lost lead of the Ospreys, which starts against Ulster on Saturday, wants more.


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