Gareth Anscombe has revealed he left the Cardiff Blues to join the Ospreys because he wanted to be back at No.10.
The Wales fly-half moved from the Arms Park to the Liberty Stadium at the end of last season after a protracted stand-off over a new contract following five years in the capital.
Anscombe appealed against the new banding system for Wales players’ salaries brought in by the Welsh Rugby Union – arguing he should have been in the top tier – but after that was rejected on the basis he had yet to make a Lions squad he opted to leave the Blues and join the Ospreys.
But the 27-year-old had also found himself regularly shifted to full-back to enable the Blues to pick Jarrod Evans at outside-half and Anscombe says that was a motivating factor in his decision.
The New Zealand-born player said: “I feel making this change will suit me – especially with a chance to play at fly-half, which is where I want to spend most of my rugby.”
Anscombe also told Ospreys TV that linking again with Australian backs coach Matt Sherratt – who worked with the fly-half when they were together at the Blues – was also an attraction.
“That was something that drew me to the place. It was important from an individual point of view that I keep growing my game.
“I’ve enjoyed my time working with him before and he’s a bit of a character. I’m looking forward to reconnecting that relationship.
“There is a good group of boys around the place. The squad is already in a good position and hopefully we can push on again next season.”
Before he pulls on an Ospreys shirt next season, however, Anscombe will be a key player for Wales at the World Cup in Japan.
After finally edging past former Ospreys star Dan Biggar last season to become Warren Gatland’s first choice starting No.10, Anscombe looks certain to hold on to that status when the tournament begins in September.
Currently out in Switzerland as Wales continue their high altitude training in the Alps, Anscombe says his own preparations for the tournament have benefitted from a period of rest instead of a summer tour.
“Everyone is really excited about the tournament and the group is training well and pretty hard, as we tend to do under Gats.
“The first few weeks were a bit more conditioning-focussed. It’s been nice from a personal point of view to spend five or six weeks just getting the body right.
“When you start playing at international level it is tough to get any time to just start looking after your body. The calendar is getting bigger and bigger and we are playing more and more games.
“So, it’s nice to just spend some time in the gym and get some strength back in the legs.”