Wales outside half leave Cardiff Blues
Ospreys have signed Gareth Anscombe from Cardiff Blues.
Anscombe is Wales’ first choice outside half and was Guinness man of the match in last month’s Grand Slam decider against Ireland at the Principality Stadium.
Anscombe said: “I’m delighted to have secured my future to play professional rugby in Wales and to be joining the Ospreys, I am very happy to finally be able to put pen to paper during what’s been an unsettling time and commit to staying in Wales.
“I know a lot of the boys from my time with the Wales team and they can’t speak highly enough of the spirit and ambition within the Region which really excites me. I’ve been impressed with the vision and the long term goals of the coaches and Region as a whole and I would like to thank them for supporting my dream to continue playing pro rugby in Wales and, if I am playing well enough, to play for my country.”
Top scorer at the 2011 IRB Junior World Championships with 84 points, Anscombe kicked 18 points in a 33-22 win over England in the final to guide his native New Zealand to a world title.
Just two years later, his stylish performances helped guide the Chiefs to 2013 Super Rugby success, as he finished top scorer with 166 points from 13 games across the season, including five tries, as his team were crowned the best in the Southern Hemisphere.
Dual qualified due to his Welsh mother, Anscombe headed north in 2014, linking up with Cardiff Blues, for whom he has played 76 times to date and scored 597 points, the most notable undoubtedly being the 78th minute penalty he kicked to secure a 31-30 win over Gloucester in Bilbao last year, clinching the European Rugby Challenge Cup for his team.
His Wales debut came at Principality Stadium in August 2015, a Rugby World Cup warm-up against Ireland, his first senior international start at Twickenham two months later, against Australia.
With 26 caps and now established as first choice for Wales in the number 10 shirt, he has played a huge part in the country’s record breaking winning run, starting seven of the nine test matches this season at outside half, including four of the five wins in the Six Nations Grand Slam success.
Rugby General Manager, Dan Griffiths said: "The signing of Gareth is a real statement for the Ospreys. His performances at both club and international level over the last year have been standout, and have attracted the attention of a number of high profile clubs across Europe. To secure his services not only signifies the intent and ambition we have as a region, it reflects an environment and culture that players of Gareth’s calibre want to be a part of.
“His experience and character will challenge and drive the established quality and exciting young talent we have around him. To add his attacking ability and guile to our backline is an exciting prospect for Ospreys supporters.”
Head Coach, Allen Clarke, echoed those comments, highlighting that Anscombe is eagerly anticipating working with some familiar faces: “Gareth is a player I’ve admired for a long time and I’m delighted that he has committed his future to the Ospreys. It’s not just a statement of intent, it’s adding another player of current international quality to our squad for next season, the number one player in Wales in his position.
“He’s worked closely with Matt Sherratt previously and I know that Gareth is looking forward to linking up with him again both in terms of the challenge and quality development of his game. Gareth will also add his undoubted positional and game breaking X-factor attributes to our backline and team attack. I have no doubt his drive and talent will contribute to the quality we already possess within the squad and he will become a fans favourite.
“This is a significant announcement, a signing which shows how ambitious we are to re-establish ourselves as a leading team in the PRO14.”
Anscombe added: “I would like to thank everyone at the Blues for the last five years of continuous support. They have an incredible team of people working behind the scenes to help the boys, along with some of the best supporters around, I can’t thank them enough for all they have done for me since arriving from NZ. Thanks also to a great group of boys playing at the club who welcomed me and made me feel at home from the start. I will continue to do my best for the team until the end of the season and I will leave with many happy memories of my time with the Blues.”