Gareth Anscombe of Wales. Pic: Simon King/Replay Images.

“Second Rate” Gareth Anscombe Considers Harlequins Or Bath Move As Regional Turmoil Returns

Gareth Anscombe has warned that he and other Grand Slam winners are considering moves to England because of the regional chaos in Welsh rugby.

The Wales No.10 has yet to agree a new deal with the Cardiff Blues with the instability of the domestic structure back on the agenda now the Six Nations is over.

Anscombe, whose existing national dual contract expires at the end of this season, is a target for Gallagher Premiership clubs Bath and Harlequins.

Although he has been on a national dual contract since he arrived from New Zealand in 2014 and has now become a key starting player in a pivotal position, it is thought Anscombe will not be offered a top level pay rate in the new banding system because he has not made a Lions squad.

It was his 20-point haul that steered Wales to an emphatic victory over Ireland on Saturday, securing the Six Nations title and a first Grand Slam since 2012.

But political turmoil was never far away throughout the campaign, with Welsh regional rugby’s future template still unclear and many players in the dark due to contract negotiations being clouded by uncertainty.

And the 27-year-old has delivered a powerful message to the Welsh Rugby Union and regional chiefs following Wales’ stunning Six Nations triumph.

Asked if the current strife had made him think about leaving for England, Anscombe said: “I think it has made all the boys think about that, to be honest.

“We’ve only got a 10-year window to really look after ourselves and I guess the important thing is you don’t want to look back with any regrets.

Gareth Anscombe of Wales under pressure from Henry Slade of England. Pic: Simon King/Replay Images.

“It has been tough with what is going on in Welsh rugby. It’s not ideal and not what you want to be dealing with as a player.

“Hopefully, we can put this mess behind us and focus on this [the Grand Slam], which we should all be really excited about.”

If Anscombe moves away from Wales, his Test career would be stalled as he is comfortably under the minimum 60-cap selection requirement to be eligible in that scenario.

“We all want to play for Wales – there is no doubt about that – but players need to be treated well, and we deserve to be,” he said.

“We are doing a hell of a lot for the team and the country, so we should be looked after. That needs to get sorted, and as players we deserve to get the best deals possible.

“There is a fair bit going on behind the scenes which needs to get sorted. I would love to keep playing for Wales, but we’ve got to work out a few things, for sure.

“We are a world-class team and we deserve to be where we are. We’re not far off beating anyone, we are No 2 in the world now, so hopefully that gets reciprocated both ways.

“I think we’ve given the Union something to be pretty proud about, and hopefully the Union and the regions can come together and sort out the best deals for the players, because that is important.”

On the field, Anscombe’s consistently-impressive form proved integral to Wales’ success – and it should have silenced social media critics who often wade into him.

Whether at fly-half or full-back – a role he filled for most of the Ireland game due to an injury reshuffle – he will be a key part of Wales head coach Warren Gatland’s World Cup planning.


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