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Ospreys announced Anscombe signing with this video….

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Photo By Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile via Getty Images

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.

His Wales debut came at Principality Stadium in August 2015, a Rugby World Cup warm-up against Ireland, his first senior international start at Twickenham two months later, against Australia.

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.”

Anscombe added:

“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.

6 Nations

Huge boost for Ulster & Ireland as Henderson signs new deal

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Photo By Oliver McVeigh/Sportsfile via Getty Images

Ulster captain, Iain Henderson, who has represented the province on 116 occasions, has secured his future with the club for the next two years.

Craigavon-born Henderson, who took up the role of Ulster captain in 2019, has progressed through the Ulster development system. Starting with mini rugby at Academy RFC, his early playing career saw him reach the final of the Danske Bank Schools Cup in 2010 with Belfast Royal Academy, represent Queen’s University Belfast as well as Ireland at Age-Grade level, before quickly rising through the ranks of senior professional rugby in the province.

Iain, who captained Ireland for the first time against France in this year’s Guinness Six Nations, made his international debut against South Africa in November 2012 and has won 60 caps to date for his country. 

A Lions tourist in 2017, Iain succeeded Rory Best as Ulster captain in 2019.  

David Nucifora, IRFU Performance Director, commented,

“Over the past few seasons Iain has really developed into a leader within both the Ireland and Ulster squads. He is part of the national leadership group, captaining Ireland recently for the first time and we are delighted to have ensured that he continues his career in Ireland.”

Iain Henderson, commented,

“It has been a great honour to captain both Ulster and Ireland in recent times. Irish rugby is in a good place despite the disruption the sport has experienced during the pandemic. As professionals, we have been in a privileged position to be able to continue playing and I know we all hope to see supporters back in the Aviva and Kingspan in the near future.”

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Pro14

Ulster issue positive update on Coetzee injury

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Photo By Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Many Ulster fans feared they may have seen the last appearance of Springbok Marcell Coetzee in an Ulster shirt after he was helped from the field on Friday night but a medical update has been issued which appears to be more positive than what was initially feared.

Update below:

The Ulster Rugby Medical Performance Team has issued a squad update ahead of Friday’s Guinness PRO14 Round 13 fixture against Ospreys at Kingspan Stadium.

Marcell Coetzee suffered a thigh muscle contusion in Ulster Rugby’s Guinness PRO14 Round 12 match against Glasgow Warriors. His availability for selection for the upcoming game against Ospreys will be assessed through the coming week.

There are no other new injury concerns arising from Friday night’s game at Scotstoun Stadium.

Squad updates in association with The Ulster Independent Clinic.

Update ends.

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Pro14

Murphy to Captain Ulster against a strong Glasgow team

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(Photo By John Dickson/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Jordi Murphy will captain Ulster for the first time in Friday’s return to Guinness PRO14 action, while the trip to Glasgow will also mark significant milestones for Kieran Treadwell and Marty Moore. 

Murphy will start at openside flanker, alongside fellow loose forwards Nick Timoney and Marcell Coetzee. Treadwell will become the latest Ulster centurion as he is named to start along with Alan O’Connor in the second row. In the front row, Eric O’Sullivan returns from international duty to join John Andrew and Marty Moore, who will make his 50th Ulster appearance. 

In the backs, John Cooney and Stuart McCloskey are also released from Ireland camp and will start in their familiar 9 and 12 jerseys. Ian Madigan will partner Cooney at fly-half, with James Hume joining McCloskey in midfield. Rob Lyttle makes his return from injury on the left wing, with Craig Gilroy on the right and Michael Lowry at full-back.  

Academy second row, Cormac Izuchukwu is set to make his senior debut if called upon from the bench. He is named alongside Adam McBurney, Andrew Warwick, Tom O’Toole – also returning from international duties – and Greg Jones in the forward reinforcements. Alby Mathewson, Stewart Moore and Matt Faddes will provide back line cover.  

Ulster team to play Glasgow Warriors, Guinness PRO14 Round 12, Friday 19 February at Scotstoun Stadium (kick-off 7.35pm, live on Premier Sports / eir Sport): 

(15-9) Michael Lowry, Craig Gilroy, James Hume, Stuart McCloskey, Rob Lyttle, Ian Madigan, John Cooney; 

(1-8) Eric O’Sullivan, John Andrew, Marty Moore, Alan O’Connor, Kieran Treadwell, Nick Timoney, Jordi Murphy (Capt.), Marcell Coetzee.  

Replacements: Adam McBurney, Andrew Warwick, Tom O’Toole, Cormac Izuchukwu, Greg Jones, Alby Mathewson, Stewart Moore, Matt Faddes.

Glasgow Warriors have named a strong lineup with lots of Scottish caps and releases and a welcome return for mercurial Out-Half, Adam Hastings.

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