Yesterday, the Ospreys announced their first new signing ahead of the 2019/20 season and it was a pretty big one.
“Ospreys Rugby are delighted to announce the signing of Gareth Anscombe.”
It’s become a common trend now for teams to announce their new signings with some form of quirky social media. Bristol and Wasps have had some crackers already this season, our favourite being the signing of Fekitoa with the Jurassic Park announcement.
Ospreys didn’t go with the ‘comical’ style video, they opted for this.
Speaking about the move west from his current Region, Cardiff Blues, 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.”
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.
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.”
“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.”
Anscombe is the first new face confirmed at the Ospreys for 2019/20, while new deals for Dan Evans, Cory Allen and Luke Morgan have already been announced.
Guinness PRO14 make exciting statement regarding SA Rugby
The Guinness PRO14 this morning made the below statement regarding SA Rugby and the PRO14 which contains exciting news for the competition and South African Rugby.
“On August 25, PRO14 Rugby acknowledged that under current international travel restrictions it is not possible for South African teams to fulfil Guinness PRO14 fixtures until 2021.
PRO14 Rugby welcomes the news that the South African Rugby Union (SA Rugby) has been able to arrange a domestic schedule for its professional teams and that this is the first step in the return of their teams to on-field action.
SA Rugby’s long-standing commitments are to field two teams in the Guinness PRO14 and in light of the withdrawal of the Southern Kings, discussions are on-going about fulfilling this agreement from 2021 using a replacement team from its current professional franchises.
Additionally, both PRO14 Rugby and SA Rugby are in early discussions about potentially expanding the tournament and deepening our partnership to include more South African franchises from 2021.”
The board of SA Super Rugby (Pty) Ltd – which trades as the Southern Kings placed the insolvent company into voluntary liquidation to secure the longer-term financial future of rugby in Eastern Province.
The shareholders – the Eastern Province Rugby Union (EPRU) and SA Rugby – took the decision in the face of an accumulated deficit of R55m, and with zero income in prospect for the remainder of 2020.
The loss of the Southern Kings will not be seen as a huge loss to the competition with them rarely upsetting the Betway odds.
Active discussions are ongoing with other South African teams to fill the void left by the Kings and also the potential of adding further franchises to expand the league.
PRO14 confirmed in August that the South African based sides will not play in the PRO14 for the rest of this calendar year, missing the start of the 2020-21 season, but PRO14 are still hopeful they will be able to compete in the 2020/21 season.
The remaining 12 teams from Wales, Ireland, Scotland and Italy will begin the new campaign in early October with the first round of 11 fixtures not involving the South African sides. It’s no surprise who the bookies favourites are for next season, and surely this will drive many fans to place bets on Rugby at Betway hoping for their side to come out on top.
As a result of COVID-19 and the impact it is has had and will have on rugby’s global competition structures, the PRO14 is the most likely home for more South African teams.
An interesting few months certainly ly ahead.
Ringrose to captain Leinster v Ulster
The Leinster Rugby team, as sponsored by Bank of Ireland, to face Ulster Rugby in the Final of the Guinness PRO14 tomorrow in the Aviva Stadium has been named by Leinster Head Coach Leo Cullen (KO 7.35pm – live on eir Sport, TG4 & RTÉ Radio).
Cullen has made a number of changes from the team that accounted for Munster Rugby in the semi-final with Garry Ringrose named as captain of the senior side for the first time.
The back three is the same that started against Munster last week with Jordan Larmour selected at full back having come through the graduated return to play protocols successfully this week and Hugo Keenan on the right wing and James Lowe on the left.
Robbie Henshaw is again selected at inside centre with captain Ringrose outside him in the number 13 jersey.
Ringrose made his Leinster debut in September 2015 on the wing against Cardiff Blues and tomorrow’s Guinness PRO14 Final will be his 75th appearance in a Leinster jersey. In that time he has scored 25 tries and has 29 Ireland caps to his name.
The half back partnership sees Jamison Gibson-Park and Ross Byrne start at nine and 10.
In the pack there is no change in the front row with Cian Healy, Rónan Kelleher and Andrew Porter again selected. In winning his 219th cap, Cian Healy joins Leo Cullen and Rob Kearney as the joint 4th most capped player in Leinster history.
James Ryan has recovered from injury to take his place in the second row alongside Devin Toner.
Finally in the back row, Guinness Player of the Match from last week Caelan Doris is again selected at blindside flanker with Josh van der Flier at openside and finally Jack Conan is selected in the number eight jersey.
Leinster Rugby (caps in brackets):
15. Jordan Larmour (48)
14. Hugo Keenan (16)
13. Garry Ringrose (74) CAPTAIN
12. Robbie Henshaw (46)
11. James Lowe (45)
10. Ross Byrne (87)
9. Jamison Gibson-Park (91)
1. Cian Healy (218)
2. Rónan Kelleher (13)
3.Andrew Porter (64)
4. Devin Toner (247)
5. James Ryan (37)
6. Caelan Doris (31)
7. Josh van der Flier (82)
8. Jack Conan (91)
16. James Tracy (109)
17. Ed Byrne (55)
18. Michael Bent (138)
19. Scott Fardy (60)
20. Will Connors (18)
21. Luke McGrath (125)
22. Johnny Sexton (165)
23. Rory O’Loughlin (69)
Referee: Andrew Brace (IRFU)
Press Release from Leinster Rugby
Ulster make big changes for Leinster Final
The Ulster men will be boosted by the return of club captain, Iain Henderson, who will be making his first appearance since the season resumption, and is one of four changes to the side that defeated Edinburgh in last week’s thrilling Semi-Final at BT Murrayfield.
Alan O’Connor will partner Henderson in the second row, while the front row of Eric O’Sullivan, Rob Herring and Tom O’Toole is retained. The back row sees one change, with Sean Reidy coming into the starting line-up at openside flanker. Matthew Rea takes the blindside flanker position and Marcell Coetzee packs down at number eight.
The back three sees two positional switches, with Jacob Stockdale moving to the left wing, while Rob Lyttle swaps over to the right. Joining them at full-back is Michael Lowry, returning to the starting XV. Stuart McCloskey – who, along with John Cooney, was named in the Guinness PRO14 Dream Team earlier this week – continues his midfield partnership with James Hume. All Black scrum-half, Alby Mathewson, will make his first start for Ulster alongside Billy Burns at fly-half.
McFarland has opted for a 6-2 split on the bench where John Andrew, Jack McGrath, Marty Moore, Sam Carter, Jordi Murphy and Nick Timoney will offer the forward backup, and the backline cover is provided by John Cooney and Ian Madigan.
Ulster team to play Leinster Rugby, Guinness PRO14 Final, Aviva Stadium, Saturday 12 September (7.35pm, live on Premier Sports / eir Sport):
(15-9) Michael Lowry, Rob Lyttle, James Hume, Stuart McCloskey, Jacob Stockdale, Billy Burns, Alby Mathewson.
(1-8) Eric O’Sullivan, Rob Herring, Tom O’Toole, Alan O’Connor, Iain Henderson (Capt.), Matthew Rea, Sean Reidy, Marcell Coetzee.
Replacements (16-23): John Andrew, Jack McGrath, Marty Moore, Sam Carter, Jordi Murphy, John Cooney, Ian Madigan, Nick Timoney.
Press Release from Ulster Rugby