Players will be donning rainbow laces in support of not only Gareth Thomas but the entire LGBT community. Photo: Stefan Wermuth/Reuters

ROME Italy and New Zealand are the latest international rugby teams to say they will wear rainbow laces during their clash on Saturday in support of former Wales captain Gareth Thomas.

Ahead of their meet in Rome, the Italian rugby federation tweeted that the move was "a gesture of solidarity" with the player. 

Wales, who face Fiji, and France, who play South Africa, have already said their players will be wearing rainbow laces during their games on Saturday. 

England, who play Australia, said they may not be able to join the effort because the rainbow laces do not fit into their boots.

Former Wales captain Thomas, 44, who came out as gay in 2009, posted a video on Twitter on November 18 saying he had been a victim of a hate crime in Cardiff "for my sexuality".

Police dealt with a 16-year-old boy using restorative justice following a request by Thomas, who wanted to send a "positive message".

AFP