Skip to main content

First Minister's Special Award 2020 winner

Gareth Thomas is a former professional rugby player, who represented Wales in both rugby union and rugby league. With 100 test match appearances, he was the most capped Welsh rugby union player until September 2011. He is currently ranked 13th among international try scorers, and is the second highest Wales try scorer behind Shane Williams.

He played rugby union for Bridgend, Cardiff, the Celtic Warriors, Toulouse, Cardiff Blues, and Wales. In 2010, he moved to rugby league when he transferred from Cardiff Blues to the Crusaders in the Super League. He retired from rugby in October 2011.

Gareth came out as gay in December 2009. The following year he was voted the most influential gay person in the UK in The Independent on Sunday Pink List and received Stonewall’s Hero of the Year award.

In September 2019, he announced that he was HIV positive. The following day he competed in the Ironman Wales event in Tenby, finishing 413th out of 2,039, having vowed to "break the stigma" around the illness. A BBC documentary, Gareth Thomas: HIV and Me, aired in September 2019.