By Alex Bywater
Gareth Anscombe is set to end 761 days of injury troubles when he makes his Ospreys debut against Northampton Saints on Friday.
Wales fly-half Anscombe hasn’t played since August 2019 when he suffered a serious knee injury facing England in a Rugby World Cup warm-up clash at Twickenham.
Anscombe, 30, missed that year’s tournament as a result and has spent more than two years on the sidelines while recovering.
Anscombe, was part of the warm-up and kicked at goal as the Ospreys began their pre-season campaign with a convincing win over Hartpury College last Saturday.
He did not play in that game, but will do so at Franklin’s Gardens in what is a big boost for Ospreys and Wales head coaches Toby Booth and Wayne Pivac.
Anscombe’s Wales team-mate Tomas Francis is also poised for his Ospreys debut at Northampton.
The tighthead prop joined from Exeter Chiefs this summer.
Great to see @Gareth_Anscombe on the team sheet tonight. Go well mate 🏉🏉🏉
— Martyn Preece (@MartynPreece79) September 10, 2021
Ospreys first team coach Duncan Jones said: “It’s always the same in pre-season. You test yourselves against each other a lot of the time during the week so it was good to get a first hit out.
“It really tested some of our systems and it was good for us to blow the cobwebs out and test to see where we were.
“We want to be building on where we left off at Hartpury. In pre-season nothing is going to be perfect.
“You’re still blowing away some rust, but we want to stick to what we know.
“We want to worry about what we can control and it will be interesting to see how the boys react to a potentially sold-out Franklin’s Gardens.
“It will be a loud and hostile environment, but ultimately we want to be true to what we want to put in place.”
Ospreys squad to face Northampton Saints at Franklin’s Gardens on Friday (kick-off 7.30pm):
Backs: Rhys Webb, Matthew Aubrey, Reuben Morgan-Williams, Gareth Anscombe, Joe Hawkins, Owen Watkin, Michael Collins, Callum Carson, Tiaan Thomas-Wheeler, Luke Morgan, Mat Protheroe, Dan Evans, Max Nagy
Forwards: Nicky Smith, Gareth Thomas, Tom Botha, Tomas Francis, Rhys Henry, Sam Parry, Elvis Taione, Ifan Phillips, Will Griffiths, Rhys Davies, Lloyd Ashley, Jack Regan, Olly Cracknell, Sam Cross, Ethan Roots, Jac Morgan, Morgan Morris