This versatile youngster made his Wales debut in the summer of 2021

Cardiff back Ben Thomas

Date of birth 25 November 1998 Born Cardiff Position Inside-centre Club Cardiff Rugby Country Wales

When and where did you first play rugby? 

I first played at St Peters RFC at the age of ten. A lot of my school friends from Corpus Christi HS played at St Peters.

Are you from a rugby family? 

No, I only started playing because my mates did. My dad was a boxer (Pat Thomas, a British light-middleweight champion) but I was pretty much football up until 12, 13.

What positions have you played?

I played all my junior rugby at fly-half, then moved to 12 at about 18 years old. Up until this season I’ve played all my senior rugby at 12.

Did you have any sports heroes growing up? 

I’m a big Tiger Woods fan. More so in his comeback era. I get out myself (for golf) as much as possible.

Rugby-wise, it was the likes of Quade Cooper and Sonny Bill Williams. Their flair made for exciting games.

What are your strengths and work-ons? 

I can play some quite attacking rugby. Heads-up rugby. My main work-on is the defensive side of the game. Especially when you step up to this level, it’s something you’ve got to keep on top of.

Who’s been the biggest influence on your career? 

My mother. Her dedication to my career allowed me to kick on as I have. As I was going through the age grades she drove me to all points of the region.

And from a coaching point of view? 

I’ve had good coaches. Martyn Fowler and Dan Fish at my college (Cardiff and Vale Rugby Academy). And then more recently at Cardiff RFC, Gethin Jenkins has kept me on top of my defence.

What’s your best moment in rugby? 

Winning my first Wales cap (v Canada). Luckily we were allowed 8,000 fans in, so I was able to get all my family in there and a few mates.

Afterwards, we had our caps presented to us in front of our families on the field. For my initiation song, I sang Just The Two Of Us by Bill Withers.

How did you find the match? 

It was a quick game. Luckily when I came on it was pretty much all Wales attack.

What are your goals for this season? 

To cement myself in the Wales squad. And try to kick on from there.

What do you do away from rugby? 

I recently did an ILM Leadership and Management course. The club organises it and about ten of us did it.

RW Verdict: Thomas has formed a choice partnership at Cardiff with Jarrod Evans. He had a good Test debut off the bench, with two tricky conversions and a try assist. Hopes are high that he’ll grow into an accomplished second playmaker for Wales.

This article originally appeared in Rugby World’s September 2021 edition.

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