Toulouse mystified by Alfie’s ‘sick-note’

Toulouse president Rene Bouscatel has claimed that his club has been left in the dark over a mystery illness that has befallen Wales star Gareth Thomas.

Bouscatel, speaking in an interview with L’Equipe stated that he had received a doctor’s certificate for the player but had not been given any details as to the seriousness of the illness.

The ‘sick-note’ is the latest episode in a long-running tug-o-war between the Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) and Toulouse over the utility back’s availability at the end of this season.

Thomas, it is believed, returned to Wales in the last ten days and has been included in Wales’s squad to tour Australia, a trip that begins on 17 May. But Bouscatel was adamant that the 32-year-old will see out his contract with Toulouse, which ends on 30 June.

“He hasn’t trained for twelve days on medical grounds,” Bouscatel told the newspaper.

“A certificate, signed by a Welsh doctor, arrived in that time.

“I don’t know how long he will be out for, and I don’t think it will be that long.

“We’re waiting for Gareth to come back to Toulouse to see how he is. At that stage, I’m sure he’ll honour his contract with us”.

Wales’s first Test against the Wallabies will take place on 26 May, which clashes with Toulouse’s final league game of the season.

However, Toulouse have already qualified for the play-offs of the Top 14, the final of which is on 9 June.

Bouscatel is mystified as to Thomas’s current grounds for unavailability.

“The reason, I don’t know,” he said.

“It’s a question of medical confidentiality. If I have to doubt the authenticity of a certificate signed by a medical professional then it’s a very serious matter.

“But I don’t believe that. I’ve never had a problem with Gareth. We’ve always understood the reasons why Gareth can’t play. He has always put in 100 per cent for this team, and I accept that there are times when he is not able to play.

“Having said that, there is no ‘Gareth Thomas affair’, if we learned that he had been training in Wales, that would be another question.

“When he lost his grandfather [a few weeks ago], he was excused for a week. At the moment it’s an illness. That’s life.”

WRU president Roger Lewis has already insisted that Toulouse released Thomas, citing that the tour was “IRB sanctioned and approved”.

Toulouse disagreed, adding that the player was bound under contract with the French giants to see out the season. The whole episode seems to have left all parties perplexed.

“I sent the letter from the WRU to the LNR, who agreed with our view,” said Lewis.

“At the moment, I’m not too worried about the whole Gareth Thomas affair. If I learned that he was training over there that would be another matter altogether – but I don’t have that information and I’ll wait for his return to us for that.”

“Gareth has the option of staying another year with us which is still open to him, but he is still under his current contract until the end of the Top 14 season.”

But Bouscatel believes he and the WRU will be able to come to the same sort of agreement that Toulouse has stuck with their other forgien players.

“With the WRU, we have always played the game,” he said.

“I wonder why there would be a problem when there isn’t one with the Argentinians and the Italians.”

By Ian Moriarty 365 Digital 

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