Nicky Thomas: Scarlets coach Ioan Cunningham says prop can flourish in Wales

Nicky Thomas
Nicky Thomas' main rival at Scarlets is Wales tight-head Samson Lee

Scarlets coach Ioan Cunningham says tight-head prop Nicky Thomas can flourish after returning to Wales.

The 22-year-old former Ospreys player made nine appearances for Gloucester last season but joined Scarlets in October on a two-year deal.

"He's always had that potential and I was really excited to have him with us," Cunningham said.

"He's been a part of us for a couple of weeks. There's no denying his potential, he's very good."

Cunningham thinks Thomas' return could aid his career prospects, in much the same way as his former Waunarlwydd, Swansea and Ospreys team-mate Nicky Smith, who has stepped up to the Wales squad.

"He played very well for Gloucester last year, played a lot of European rugby and it's great to have him back in Wales," Cunningham said.

"We're grateful to have him and hopefully he can continue to flourish with us."

Thomas made 20 appearances for Wales Under-20s and his former coach Cunningham says Scarlets will benefit from his development.

Cunningham added, "I coached Nicky in the under-20s and he was probably one of the best tight-heads in world rugby at that time in the Junior World Championship.

"He's very good in tackles, particularly defensively. Players like that are invaluable. It allows your Josh Macleods and Jack Condys to run around a bit more.

"That's what we're trying to do here. We're trying to grow that depth at the tight head and Nicky will be one for the future."

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