Wales

France rugby team supports Gareth Thomas with rainbow laces

Gareth Thomas playing for Toulouse Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Gareth Thomas spent three years in French rugby with Toulouse

France's national rugby team will wear rainbow laces this weekend in support of Gareth Thomas following his assault.

Former Wales captain Thomas, who played at French club Toulouse for three years, was the victim of a homophobic attack on Saturday in Cardiff.

This Saturday, French players will make the gesture during their Test match against Fiji in Paris.

French Rugby Federation vice-president Serge Simon tweeted: "Dear Gareth Thomas, all French Rugby is with you."

He added: "To show our support, the French rugby players will wear a rainbow shoe lace during the France - Fiji game on Saturday night. We're all in with you in this matter."

The Rainbow Laces campaign began in 2013, when gay rights group Stonewall invited footballers in England and Scotland to wear them.

Thomas, 44, who came out as gay in 2009, appeared bruised in a Twitter video, saying he was targeted because of his sexuality.

Image copyright Twitter
Image caption A visibly shaken Thomas thanked police and the people of Cardiff for helping him on Saturday night

Officers dealt with a 16-year-old boy by way of restorative justice following a request by Thomas, who is from Bridgend, to "send a positive message".

Rugby referee Nigel Owens has commended Thomas on "his braveness".

Owens, who is also gay, said he made a similar choice in 2015 after being sent abuse on Twitter.

Thomas enjoyed a successful spell in French rugby between 2004 and 2007, helping Toulouse become European champions in 2005.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption England rugby union player Chris Robshaw wore rainbow laces against Samoa last autumn

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