HENRY Thomas was a wide-eyed six-year-old the last time his boyhood club lifted European rugby’s most glittering prize.

Two decades on, the Bath prop has swapped a place on the Rec terraces for one in the front row as Todd Blackadder’s current-day stars look to take another huge step towards qualification for the Champions Cup knockout stages tomorrow night (7.45pm).

Bath and the mighty Toulon are locked together at the top of Pool 5, but it is the English side who lead the way after picking up a single match point more over the course of the two meetings between the sides last month.

Tomorrow’s visitors, Scarlets, sit a point behind but have played bottom side Benetton twice already.

A four-try home win would put Bath on the verge of the quarter-finals and, with the 20th anniversary of arguably the club’s finest hour coming up on January 31, they will be backed by a number of former favourites – Andy Nicol, Andy Robinson and Jeremy Guscott among them – from the side that lifted the silverware formerly known as the Heineken Cup in 1998.

Thomas, now 26, was only just beginning his rugby journey in the colours of Bath minis at the time but said: “I do remember it, actually. I was a season-ticket holder from the age of four or five and my parents were there to watch the final against Brive.

“It means a lot to me and to be playing in big European occasions like that again is where I and the club want to be.

"We’re in control of our own destiny in the pool and had a big result (26-21 win) at home to Toulon in the last game, but that won’t mean a whole lot if we don’t back it up against a tough Scarlets side.”

Six Rhys Priestland penalties proved enough for an 18-13 Bath victory as October’s reverse fixture at the Parc y Scarlets was played in dismal weather conditions.

“They’ll be hurting from what happened there and will have a point to prove but we’re really looking forward to it,” said Thomas, whose side won 46-25 at Worcester in the Aviva Premiership last week.

“They’ve got some world-class backs and tough forwards. We’ll need to take the game to them up front. If we can tire the front five out they won’t be able to do as much damage in the loose.''

“Big Rhys Priestland was the star of the show when we played them last time and has done really well for us since, so hopefully he can continue that sort of form on Friday night.”

Thomas has started Bath’s last three matches at tighthead – his best run since tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in November 2016 and spending the following ten months on the sidelines.

Two operations – plus a further eight-week setback with ankle ligament damage – later and the former Millfield schoolboy is back on England’s radar again, having been invited to take part in a two-day Red Rose training camp in Brighton this month.

He said: “I’m just happy to be back playing again – especially when we win games – and being in the flow of matches from week-to-week.

“It was tough watching on the sidelines and then coming back and getting injured again was mentally tough.''

“I know where I stand when it comes to England and have only been back for a few weeks. I tried to impress as much as I could during those two days and obviously know Neal Hatley (scrum coach) well from his time at Bath.

“I just need to focus on performing at weekends for my club and a big European game like the one we have against Scarlets is an ideal place to start.”