Wales’ national teams will show their support for the former captain Gareth Thomas by wearing rainbow laces this weekend.
Thomas, who won 100 caps for his country, was assaulted by a 16 year-old teenager in his home city of Cardiff. With a visibly injured face, the openly gay rugby star took to Twitter to share the story.
— Gareth Thomas (@gareththomas14) November 18, 2018
Following the attack, Thomas chose to meet and speak with his attacker through the system of restorative justice.
Wales’ men’s team will wear the laces in thir game against South Africa, while the women’s team will wear them in their match against Canada. The French team announced they will do the same in their match against New Zealand.
“We are delighted to confirm that Welsh rugby is once again proudly endorsing Stonewall Cymru’s Rainbow Laces initiative throughout its two-week 2018 awareness campaign, whilst continuing to permanently support its values on a year round basis ,” said a WRU spokesperson.
“Many of our national game’s core values of respect, teamwork and sportsmanship resonate with what is at the heart of this important campaign and we remain committed to ensuring that rugby provides an inclusive and welcoming environment for all at every level of the game.
“Each of the four regional teams in Welsh rugby are backing the campaign and laces have been purchased and distributed around the community game in Wales leading up to ‘Wear Your Rainbow Laces Day’ on Wednesday 28th November, with all WRU staff on the ground encouraged to take an active role in support.
“Our referees department will also be specifically supporting the campaign with all Premiership referees due to be wearing the laces in all Premiership fixtures over the weekend of the 1st December 2018.
“Wales’ national teams, women’s and men’s, who are in action this weekend, have also been given access to laces and will be issuing their own personal messages of support in the coming days.
“#RainbowLacesDay and #WYRLD2018 will also feature prominently on WRU social channels as we seek to wholeheartedly endorse key messages of inclusion and support, as an active ally to the LGBT community, and formally condemn any comment or action to the contrary.”
— Premiership Rugby (@premrugby) November 22, 2018
The Rainbow Laces campaign was launched by UK LGBT+ charity Stonewall to show support for the LGBT+ members of the rugby community.
Additionally, England Rugby has shown their support for the Rainbow Laces campaign. The organisation, which supports men and women’s rugby teams in England announced their backing for the campaign for the second year running this morning:
“Stonewall’s Rainbow Laces campaign allows everyone involved in the sport to show their support for LGBT equality and inclusivity and this weekend England Rugby is helping to raise awareness of the campaign.”
The statement continued:
“This is the second year the RFU has worked with Stonewall, in a partnership made possible by Try For Change, an England Rugby programme raising money to use the power of rugby union and the sport’s values to improve the lives of marginalised and disadvantaged people in England and across the world.”
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