Despite compelling form in the ITM Cup for Auckland, when his pin-point accurate goal-kicking helped Auckland to the final, young first-five Gareth Anscombe was unwanted by new Blues coach John Kirwan, opening the door for the Chiefs, who quickly snapped him up.
Although Chiefs’ Head Coach Dave Rennie admitted the franchise wasn’t necessarily looking for another first-five, Anscombe was an enticing proposition, and will offer solid back-up to All Black fly-half Aaron Cruden as the Hamilton-based franchise look to defend their first ever Super Rugby title.
Gareth, the son of acclaimed coach Mark Anscombe, was an integral part of the Blues side during their 2012 campaign, sharing the 10 jersey with Michael Hobbs. But both young players bore the brunt of the Blues’ worst-ever season, as Kirwan looks to establish a clean slate ahead of his first year in the top job.
The top points scorer at the IRB Junior World Championships in 2011, Anscombe has carried huge expectations on his shoulders right from the start of his career, having represented Auckland in the ITM Cup in his first year out of High School.
Although he has both a New Zealand passport and a Welsh one, the gifted play-maker has made it clear his immediate allegiance is to the NZRFU, and the Chiefs will undoubtedly benefit from his undeniable talent and potential.