Twelve months ago, Thomas was contemplating the toughest season of his career as new coach Mike Ruddock confirmed his role as captain of a Wales team tipped for another miserable year. After they lost out, albeit narrowly to New Zealand and South africa in the autumn series of games in Cardiff, Thomas was left to wonder what the RBS Six Nations would bring.
Today as the Toulouse star prepares to lead the Lions into battle at the 'Cake Tin' in New Zealand's capital city, he stands on the verge of once again rewriting the history books. Not only does he hold an RBS Six Nations winners medal, a Triple Crown and Grand Slam, on top of a Heineken Cup winners medal with his club, but tomorrow the Lions could move to within an ace of becoming the first Lions side since 1971, and only the second in history, to defeat the All Blacks.
It is certainly a tall order, but then again, nobody reckoned on a first Wales Grand Slam in twenty-seven years when they took to the field against England.
"It is a huge honour to be given the captaincy of the lions and I am truly looking forward to the occasion," said Thomas, who took over the role after Brian O'Driscoll was ruled out of the tour last week with a dislocated shoulder. "I would rather have been given the job in different circumstances, but we have to look forward now and accept that what has gone has gone. I will try to lead the side just as Brian did, with dignity and from the front."
The Lions have made eleven changes in all from the team humiliated in Christchurch last week, and Thomas is one of the four positional alteration. He moves in from the wing to partner Gavin Henson in the centre, whilst the other welshmen in the side are Dwayne Peel, Shane Williams, Gethin Jenkins and Ryan Jones. Both Martyn Williams and Stephen Jones are on the bench.
"It is great to see so many Welsh boys in the squad and I cannot wait to play alongside Gavin," said Thomas. "He has waited for his chance and I am sure he will take it with both hands."
The Lions have certainly copped a great deal of flak this week; both from their own supporters and from the local media who have branded them as whingers for concentrating on the O'Driscoll incident rather than their obvious short-comings. However, Thomas said there will be no retribution come judgement day in the Westpac. They simply want to prove to themselves that last weekend was a bad day at the office and nothing more.
"If you go into a game trying to even up scores, you will lose, that's for sure," said Thomas. "We are determined to do well for ourselves and for all of those fans who have come over to New Zealand and given us such fantastic support."
The All Blacks made three changes to the side that won so comfortably at the Jade Stadium; Mils Muliaina, Rico Gear and Byron Kelleher come in, although Carl Hayman was yesterday ruled out of the side with a foot injury leaving Greg Sommerville to come in at tight head prop. It promises to be another wonderful occasion.