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Heart surgery for Thomas

Former Wales and Scarlets prop Rhys Thomas is undergoing surgery on Tuesday ahead of a heart transplant.

Thomas, 32, announced his retirement from rugby in April 2012 after suffering a heart attack in January of that year.

On that occasion he was taken ill while taking part in a cardio session in the gym at Scarlets' ground, treated by their medical team and then rushed to hospital, where he underwent a life-saving quadruple heart bypass operation.

Thomas' agent Christian Abt was quoted on Tuesday by the BBC as saying: "I can confirm he is having an operation today to prepare him for a heart transplant in the near future."

Among Thomas' former team-mates wishing him well on Twitter were Scarlets and Wales centre Scott Williams, who wrote: "All the best with the op."

And Ospreys number eight Joe Bearman, who played with Thomas at Newport Gwent Dragons, wrote: "Good luck big guy. Get that pump in there, our thoughts are with you mate."

South Africa-born Thomas, who won seven caps for Wales, came through the ranks at Newport, breaking into the first team in 2003 and going on to earn a place in the Dragons squad when Welsh rugby turned to a regional model.

His impressive form for the Rodney Parade side saw him win his first cap as a replacement in the first Test on the tour of Argentina in 2006.

But he missed several months of the following season after suffering what he has described as a "mild heart attack", before eventually being given medical clearance to return to action.

He started against Italy during Wales' 2008 Grand Slam campaign after missing out on selection for the 2007 World Cup, and left the Dragons in 2009 to join the Scarlets.

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