Don’t Knock The Indigo Premiership, Insists World Cup Winner . . . It’s Where Stars Are Created

Aled Thomas was a World Cup winer for Wales. Pic: Getty Images.

Don’t Knock The Indigo Premiership, Insists World Cup Winner . . . It’s Where Stars Are Created

The Indigo Welsh Premiership finally returns on Thursday night, when Aberavon host the first game of the campaign at home to regional rivals Swansea. It’s been a much debated and much tweaked structure and even now the Welsh Rugby Union have revealed plans to increase the numbers from 12 clubs to 14. Whatever happens, Aled Thomas insists the league has a big role to play as he tells Tom Prosser.

World Cup winner Aled Thomas has demanded more respect for Welsh Premiership rugby and insists the league plays a crucial role in developing the stars of the future.

Thomas took Wales to the global summit in 2009 when he scored a dramatic late winning try in the Rugby Sevens World Cup final.

Now, over a decade later, he is still playing the sport he loves for Aberavon in the Indigo Welsh Premiership.

The new league season finally gets underway on Thursday evening when Aberavon take on Swansea, a match that kicks off the weekly live online coverage being provided by S4C.

It will be the first Premiership match since the start of the pandemic – and for outside-half Thomas, the reinstatement of a vital pathway in the creation of Wales internationals of tomorrow.

One of those prospects is Thomas’s fellow No.10 with the Wizards – Dan Edwards, who is also on the books of the Ospreys and of whom big things are expected.

“I don’t think the Premiership gets the support and credit it deserves,” says 36-year-old Thomas.

“You look at the amount of regional players who cut their teeth in the Premiership and it says it all, really. It’s been invaluable to them.

Aled Thomas scores the winning try for Wales during the Sevens World Cup Final against Argentina in 2009. Pic: Getty Images.

“For Dan, it gives him the opportunity to get a lot of experience and exposure in senior rugby and that’s exactly what young players need.

“It’s difficult to go straight in at the top level, so the Premiership provides young players with an opportunity to learn from their mistakes and to learn things which they will take with them for the rest of their careers.

“You’ve got to learn your trade somewhere and the Premiership is a fantastic place to do that.

“The standard of the Premiership is rising all the time and it’s a great tool to help create the future stars of the game,”

“The quality of the youngsters coming through is really high. It’s a tough league with a lot of good teams.

“There’s a good blend of promising youngsters and the more experienced ex-pro’s like myself.

“I think more money should be ploughed into it and that would improve the standard even further.

“Yes, there are regional ‘A’ teams, but they play so sporadically. The Premiership is a really important developmental tool and it should be utilised further.”


Thomas, who was born in Carmarthenshire, had a distinguished professional career playing for the Scarlets, the Dragons, London Welsh and Gloucester.

These days his motivation is certainly not financial as he combines rugby with his career as a quantity surveyor.

He plays for enjoyment and the sense of fulfilment from developing the next generation of regional and internationals regulars.

At exactly, twice the age of teenager Edwards, he has plenty of wisdom to pass on.

“It’s especially pleasing to be working with Dan as he is also a fly-half.

“I’m always looking for things that could help to bring him along and give him even more confidence. I think he’s got genuine potential to make it at professional regional standard and beyond.

“He’s got the ability, he’s full of confidence, and he just needs the experience now.

“He’s in the Wales U20s squad, too, and I think that will be fantastic for him.

“He’s also in a fortunate position to have a great group of players and coaches around him.


“Everyone just wants to see him continue to improve and make a career for himself in the game.”

Like many in the tier below regional level, Thomas reckons the Premiership has been neglected by the decision-makers, under-resourced, and taken for granted.

But the great names of Welsh club rugby such as Aberavon, Swansea, Newport, Cardiff, Bridgend, Llanelli, Pontypridd and Ebbw Vale are still standing, even thought sporting landscape around them has been transformed.

Now, S4C are to showcase those traditional rivalries each Thursday evening in a new slot, designed to take it away from competing fixtures and Thomas is pleased with the show of faith.

“It can only be a good thing and will provide everyone with more exposure. I think it will be a good watch for everyone.

“The defences in the Premiership aren’t as tough as the pro game, so it should make it more exciting for everyone as there are lots of tries, breaks and high scoring games.

“It will also be a good opportunity for people to follow the careers of the young players from the start.”

Aberavon have made a strong start to the season and have only lost two of the 10 Premiership Cup matches.


In contrast, Swansea have lost seven of their 10 matches, but captain Jonathan Fox is pleased with his side’s progress and says they have used the Premiership Cup to try some new things.

“I think we are playing some really good rugby at the minute,” says the Swansea skipper.

“We’ve got a new attacking system and we’ve been trying to implement that in readiness for the new league season.

“It has been working quite well for us, although results haven’t been going our way.

“I always like an evening game, probably because the weather is colder and it’s easier on the lungs for me.

“It’s good for the community as well, it gives everyone an opportunity to go and support their local clubs and enjoy some rugby.”


S4C Clic: Thursday, 7.30pm – Indigo Prem

 Aberavon v Swansea

You can watch matches live on the S4C Clic player on any smart device or computer, by going to, or by downloading the S4C Clic App; from App Store on an Apple device, or Google Play on an Android device. If you have a Smart TV or Smart TV Device (such as Amazon Fire TV Stick), you can watch the game via the S4C YouTube channel.

The games will also be shown on the S4C Chwaraeon Facebook page, at, the WRU Facebook page,, or on S4C’s YouTube channel, at

English commentary available.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.