Gareth Anscombe completes move to Cardiff

HEADING ABROAD: Gareth Anscombe is being touted as a future Wales internationaal.
HEADING ABROAD: Gareth Anscombe is being touted as a future Wales internationaal.

Chiefs utility Gareth Anscombe has completed his move to the Cardiff Blues with an eye to representing Wales at the next World Cup.

The shift north for the first-five/fullback has been mooted for months and it was confirmed today.

He will join the famous club after completing NPC duties with Auckland in October.

"My decision to leave New Zealand has been a tough one," Anscombe, 23, said as the deal was announced.

"I have loved every minute of career here in New Zealand and would like to say a special thanks to the Chiefs and Auckland Rugby for everything they have done for me.

"However, in consultation with my family, I came to the conclusion that the opportunity in Wales was one that I simply couldn't turn down.

"I am really excited to be joining a region like Cardiff Blues.  I was lucky enough to be able to visit last year so have a degree of familiarity with the club and people that will hopefully help me hit the ground running and start contributing to what I hope will be a successful season for the Blues."

Anscombe qualifies for Wales through his mother. He was playing down talk of wearing the red jersey though he has long been courted by Wales' Kiwi coach Warren Gatland.

"Much has been made about my Welsh eligibility and there is no doubt that my mother's side of the family have always reinforced my Welshness," Anscombe said.

"However, I am under no illusions and my focus is very much on the Blues and if the opportunity to represent Wales comes as a result of my performances on the pitch then of course I will take it."

Cardiff CEO Richard Holland believed Anscombe's signature would be a major boost as the club looks to move forward under new coach Mark Hammett w, the former All Blacks hooker who has just finished his controversial tenure in Super Rugby with the Hurricanes.

"We are absolutely delighted that Gareth has decided to join the Cardiff Blues family. I'm sure supporters across Welsh rugby will be extremely excited about his arrival," Holland said in a statement.

"Gareth is a fantastically talented player, a true winner, after securing successive title with the Chiefs, and also a very driven and ambitious young man.

"I first met him in October last year and was immediately impressed by his attitude. He has since been to Cardiff to have a close look at the region and is now very keen to move here and get started.

"When Mark Hammett was appointed as our new Director of Rugby we spoke about potential signings and Gareth was always top of that list. Hammer was extremely keen to bring him over and now we have concluded that deal after months of negotiations.

"Gareth's signing is an absolutely crucial one for Cardiff Blues, especially following the departure of Leigh Halfpenny, and it shows our absolute intention to strengthen and bring world class players to our region."

Anscombe, a junior world champion with New Zealand, had his hopes of an All Blacks jersey stymied by a long list of talent in front of him. Dan Carter, Aaron Cruden, Beauden Barrett and Colin Slade have all been preferred and he has struggled to get a top job at No 10 in Super Rugby.