From postman to captain of the British and Irish Lions, Gareth Thomas's story is a remarkable one. Universally known by his nickname 'Alfie', Thomas has amassed an incredible list of achievements in more than a decade at the top of his sport: in 2005, he racked up not just the Grand Slam but also a Heineken Cup-winner's medal with Toulouse; he stepped into the breach as leader of Sir Clive Woodward's Lions when captain Brian O'Driscoll's tour was prematurely ended; and he reached the milestone of 100 caps, the most won by any Wales player, during the 2007 Rugby World Cup.
Away from the field, Thomas's experiences have often read like a real-life soap opera. In 2006, a potentially life-threatening neck injury resulted in a mini-stroke that almost ended his career. There was also a French court appearance for alleged affray, the anguish of the saga surrounding Mike Ruddock's controversial departure in 2006 and a Six Nations ban following an altercation with Ulster supporters at a Heineken Cup match.
Yet, amid the highs and lows of a remarkable rugby odyssey, it is Thomas's alternative yet engaging personality that marks him out as a true one-off. Never afraid to speak his mind, he has made it to the top simply by being himself.
In Alfie!, Thomas reveals the inside story of his incredible life and offers readers an insight into one of the most intriguing personalities in rugby.
Gareth Thomas (Author) Gareth Thomas was born in 1974. He played rugby union for Bridgend, Celtic Warriors, Toulouse and Cardiff Blues, winning 100 international caps for Wales and captaining the British and Irish Lions. In 2010 he switched to rugby league, playing for the Crusaders RL, and for Wales. He retired from rugby in October 2011. Gareth announced publicly in 2009 that he is gay, and was voted the most influential gay person by Stonewall that year. He is a dedicated supporter of the charity Childline.Delme Parfitt (Author) Shane Williams broke the record for most tries scored for Wales during the 2008 Six Nations tournament and is the current IRB World Player of the Year. Delme Parfitt is head of sport content at the South Wales Echo and is the co-author of autobiographies by Gareth Thomas and Mark Ring.