Rugby star Gareth Thomas has denied he's in a relationship with London-are recruiter Sean Smith.

In a The Wharf story published last month, Thomas and Smith, a 41-year-old self-made millionaire and former lawyer, were described as partners in business and life. That description has since been scrubbed and Thomas told that the confusion arose around the word “partner.”

The recently-retired rugby captain has a business partnership with Smith, who runs the Canary Wharf-based legal recruitment firm Sean Smith Associates, which Thomas and Smith co-founded.

(Related: Gareth Thomas retires from rugby.)

“Gareth wants a serious business career,” Smith said in the original story. “He's in the office three-and-a-half days a week, and he's starting off doing the photocopying and everything else. But he's the most determined man I've ever met and I have no doubt he'll make a success of it.”

Smith is also taking part in the next series of The Secret Millionaire, the Channel 4 reality series in which millionaires leave their luxurious lives behind to live for a week in an impoverished community and ultimately give away tens of thousands of pounds to needy causes and people.

“I'll learn a lot about myself because you have to survive on [5 pounds] a day and I'm not sure how I'll manage that,” Smith said.

Thomas publicly came out gay about two years ago.