Words: Will Stroude
France's national rugby team will wear rainbow laces during their match this weekend after Gareth Thomas was injured in a homophobic attack this week.
44-year-old Thomas, who came out as gay in 2009, was assaulted by a 16-year-old in his home city of Cardiff on Saturday (November 18).
The former Wales captain later shared a video of his injuries on social media, revealing the teenager had apologised after he chose to pursue restorative justice, which sees perpetraors of crime meet with their victims to understand the consqeuences of their actions.
On Tuesday (November 20), the vice-president of the French Rugby Federation Serge Simon revealed that the country's national squad would wear rainbow laces in solidarity with Thomas during their Test match against Fiji in Paris this weekend (November 24).
Simon tweeted telling Thomas that "All of French Rugby is with you", adding: "To show our support, the French rugby players will wear a rainbow shoe lace during the France – Fiji game on Saturday night.
All of French Rugby is with you regarding the homophobic molestation you’ve been victim of.
To show our support, the French rugby players will wear a rainbow shoe lace during the France – Fidji game on Saturday night.
We’re all in with you in this matter.— Serge Simon (@DrSergeSIMON) November 20, 2018
"We’re all in with you in this matter."
In the video posted after the attack on Saturday, Thomas thanked police and the people of Cardiff for their support.
"Last night, I was the victim in my home city of a hate crime for my sexuality," he said.
"Why I want it to be positive is because I want to say thank you to the police, all involved, they were very helpful and allowed me to do restorative justice for the people who did this because I thought they could do more that way than any other way.
"And also, to the people of Cardiff who supported me and helped me. Because there are a lot of people out there who want to hurt us but unfortunately for them, there’s a lot more that wants to help us heal.
“So, this, I hope, will be a positive message."