Gareth Anscombe has been the talk of Welsh rugby over the last month. This is primarily because of his outstanding Six Nations performance where he scored the second most points of the tournament. Moreover, he has openly talked about the potential for Welsh players to leave the regions for more money.
If you would like to read more on Wales stars leaving the regions for money, you can here;
As Welsh fans will be aware, Anscombe has been vocal about how he and his team mates feel somewhat under appreciated by the Welsh Rugby Union. In no way is he being greedy or rude towards the Union, he’s just realistic that money is a big factor in any players career. He went on to say, “We’ve only got a 10-year window to really look after ourselves”. This statement from Anscombe is completely understandable because its a short career and you need to make the most of it, in a financial sense too.
In last weeks news, Harlequins and Bath were interested in signing the New Zealand born kicker. Now Bristol Bears have stepped up and have offered something in the region of £500,000. Consequentially this will be due to his recent comments and the fact he is yet to be offered a new National Dual Contract by the Welsh Rugby Union.
If Anscombe accepted the contract he would breach the sixty cap selection policy. The policy means that only players with sixty or more Welsh caps can play outside of Wales and still be selected.
What are the chances of Anscombe leaving?
Bristol Bears already have Ian Madigan at the helm. Madigan has scored over ninety points in the Gallagher Premiership this season, which is why I’m hesitant to say they want him replaced. Moreover, Madigan is thirty years old but still shows no sign of slowing down. He has proven to be a solid fly-half for years. Arguably, Anscombe is three years younger and the better player, so he could be in Pat Lams longer term plans.
On the other hand, Pat Lam already has a promising young fly-half, Callum Sheedy. Therefore, I think it’s unlikely that Anscombe will join Bristol. If Madigan is heavily linked with leaving Ashton Gate, then it would seem more logistical. At this current moment in time, Bath have the best chances of signing him. They are set to release Rhys Priestland at the end of the season.
Priestland was a World Cup hero for Wales back in 2011. He played some sensational rugby on the international scene. Sadly, he was never able to re-kindle this form in a red jersey again and has found himself out of luck with Warren Gatland. Furthermore, Priestland was linked with a move to Cardiff Blues which makes for an ever stronger argument for Anscombe to go the opposite direction.
Overall, I can confidently say Anscombe will hopefully remain a Cardiff Blues player for the time being. The Welsh Rugby Union just need to offer him a new contract and it will be singing Welshmen all round!
More news to follow.
Written by Sam Powell