After weeks of speculation and drama, Gareth Anscombe has finally departed Cardiff Blues. The likes of Bath and Bristol were keen to sign the Kiwi but they have lost out to the Ospreys. This has come as somewhat of a shock to the rugby world, as many thought Anscombe would have to cross the Severn bridge for the large pay rise he was looking for. In doing so, he would have thrown away his Wales career for an extra £100,000 a year but thankfully by joining the Ospreys he can still shine at the 2019 Japan World Cup.
Moreover, why did the transfer to the Ospreys happen and what was the build up to it?
Anscombe was slightly bitter.
After Wales triumphant Six Nations, Anscombe commented on the lack of pay Wales internationals were receiving. He told Wales Online and BBC Sport that, “We all want to play for Wales — there’s no doubt about that — but players need to be treated well and we deserve to be.” For Welsh fans, this caused a divided opinion. Some believed that Wales player should be financially rewarded for their loyalty and hard work. On the other hand, it could be seen as pure greed from Anscombe.
Following these statements, Cardiff Blues attempted to resolve the matter but quickly realised there was little hope in keeping him at the Arms Park. Additionally, this lead to Bristol and Bath being the favoured destinations, whom were likely to offer him something in the region of £500,000 plus a season. This would put him up there with Dan Biggar, who swapped Swansea for Northampton last season.
With all the speculation and rumours, the Welsh Rugby Union stepped in to try and resolve the matter.
The appeal and adventure to Swansea.
After five weeks of uncertainty for Cardiff Blues and Anscombe, his request was finally listened to. His request was listed to by Chief Executive of the Welsh Rugby Union, Martyn Phillips and players union boss Andries Pretorious.
The plea to earn a more handsome salary was quickly denounced by the appeal board. This was partially due to speculations of Anscombe already earning around £300,000. Moreover, this is a high pay bracket for professional rugby players across England and Wales.
Therefore, it can be expected for Anscombe to earn more than £300,000 at the Ospreys but not the £500,000 plus many English clubs would’ve offered. So what other reasons persuaded him to join the Swansea based outfit?
They offer more than just extra cash.
Anscombe told Wales online he was “delighted to have secured my future to play professional rugby in Wales and to be joining the Ospreys”. Evidently, by remaining in Wales there are more reasons to joining the Ospreys for cash and still being able to pull on the red shirt.
Anscombe comments on the “vision” that Ospreys possess, as they are one of the leading teams in Wales whom are pushing to become a European competitor. On the other hand, Cardiff Blues have improved massively in recent seasons but the Ospreys have always been one step ahead. The likes of having Alun Wyn Jones and George North in their ranks will also be an appealing factor for Anscombe.
In my next article I will be assessing if Anscombe’s move will be positive and negative for Cardiff Blues and Ospreys.
Written by Sam Powell