With the Rugby World Cup now just around the corner, Guinness have brought out a new series of ads celebrating stories of strength of character and integrity from the world of rugby.
One of the ads features the story of Gareth Thomas - one of the most capped Welsh rugby union players of all time.
Gareth Thomas: Never Alone tells the story of how the former Wales captain’s greatest fear wasn’t the opposition he faced on the pitch, but the fear of rejection from everything he had known, because of his sexuality.
The film celebrates the courage of Gareth, and most importantly, the empathy shown by his teammates when he came out in 2009, showing that even when he felt he was on his own and at his lowest point, he was always part of a team.
“I went into battle on the pitch every week, but the battle I was going through personally was ten times worse because I was keeping a secret from the team,” Thomas explained. “That team becomes like your family – the closest thing to you, and to hide that secret from the team was horrible.
“The support that my teammates showed when I came out was truly remarkable – my sexuality didn’t matter to them at all. I am very proud about my rugby playing career, but I am more proud of the fact that my teammates supported me to play rugby being Gareth Thomas, being the person that I am, 100%.”
Ashwin Willemse: The Right Path tells the story of the South African player who had a choice of two paths when growing up. One dictated to him by a notorious Cape Town gang, and one he would need to make for himself, to follow a path to the pinnacle of rugby.
The film celebrates the choice that he made to defy his circumstances, and with the encouragement of those around him, he became who he really wanted to be, eventually winning 19 caps for his country and becoming a World Champion in 2007.