Patrick McKendry

Patrick McKendry is a rugby writer for the Herald.

Rugby: Wales line up move for Anscombe

Gareth Anscombe of the Chiefs. File photo / Getty Images
Gareth Anscombe of the Chiefs. File photo / Getty Images

Gareth Anscombe's exploits at the Chiefs have not gone unnoticed abroad, with Wales coach Warren Gatland said to be increasingly keen on luring him from Hamilton with the potential prize of a World Cup spot.

Gatland needs more options at No10, with Rhys Priestland, Dan Biggar and James Hook failing to convince.

Anscombe qualifies straight away as his mother Tracey was born in Wales and he could serve a short apprenticeship with the Cardiff Blues, said to be close to agreeing a deal with Mark Hammett, currently in his last season at the Hurricanes.

Anscombe is seen by Gatland as having the perfect pedigree, having starred at under-20 level for New Zealand.

The 22-year-old has been used mainly at fullback by the Chiefs, but has started the last two matches at first-five due to Aaron Cruden's hand injury.

Anscombe is an accurate goalkicker - he is kicking at 81 per cent this season - and just missed with a long-range chance after the fulltime siren which would have won the game for the Chiefs against the Crusaders on Saturday.

It is understood that Anscombe was targeted by overseas clubs after he was let go by the Blues at the start of John Kirwan's reign.

However, he was determined to prove that he was better than the Blues gave him credit for. He could probably feel justified in feeling that point has now been proven.

With Dan Carter, Beauden Barrett, Tom Taylor and Cruden ranked ahead of him at the All Blacks, a chance to play at next year's World Cup in Wales and England might be too hard for Anscombe to pass up.

- APNZ

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