Auckland first-five Gareth Anscombe says he's gutted and angry over his axing from the Blues.
Anscombe scored 28 points in helping Auckland beat Wellington 43-30 at Eden Park to go to the top of the national championship last night and then opened up on his sensational dumping by new Blues coach Sir John Kirwan.
"It was out of the blue. I found out on Sunday. It's been a tough week for myself trying to move forward," the first-five said of his de-listing.
"They told me their reasons and they were pretty adamant. I was really disappointed ... gutted ... but that's rugby sometimes."
Anscombe said he didn't want to reveal Kirwan's reasons but he was trying to use this setback as motivation to play well and help him find another job.
"I've been up and down," he said of his emotions. "A bit worried ... anger ... I'm trying to come out the other side now.
"It's definitely motivation - I'm trying to use it to prove a few people wrong. I can only do my talking on the field.
"All I'll say is they were pretty adamant they didn't want me. I wanted to stay. I'm from the region and I really enjoy playing for Auckland."
Anscombe said he wanted to continue playing in New Zealand and he was looking at his options. He did reveal he could qualify to play for Wales but he wanted to stay here for now.
"My agent has been talking to some clubs and franchises. I'll be doing my best to get them to jump on board. I think I'll be alright. If I keep playing like I am hopefully I do get picked up.
"I could be playing against them (the Blues) next year which I'd like to do.
"I have a passport to play for Wales if I want to. That's always there. I'm 21 though and I feel I have got a bit more to offer and a lot to learn and grow. Personally I want to stay and give New Zealand rugby a good crack."
Anscombe admitted he had endured a tough introduction to Super Rugby with the struggling Blues side this year. But he felt he had gone some way to serving his apprenticeship. That coupled with his third stint of NPC had his confidence growing.
"This year was certainly very tough, for a 20-year-old first-five trying to learn the ropes," he said of his season with the Blues.
"We didn't perform, there are no excuses for that. But I thought I was still developing and growing. Rugby is pretty cut-throat. They feel they need to win next year which they do, they didn't feel I was the man for the job. But I'd like to think my career isn't washed up just yet."
It looked anything but washed up last night as he guided Auckland around the park with authority.
"I'm just trying to do my best to play well and lead this Auckland side and I'm really enjoying the ITM Cup and we have a really good buzz in this team."
Auckland mixed up their game to dominate the Lions.
Loose forwards Sean Polwart, Steven Luatau and young Joe Edwards were outstanding at the breakdowns, providing turnovers and forcing penalties out of the Lions pack.
At one stage the Auckland pack won a lineout and rolled a maul 28m to the tryline for Moli to score.
But there's also some real cohesion coming into the Auckland backline.
Outside Anscombe skipper Hadleigh Parkes seems to have found his niche at second-five. He's the glue amongst some sizzling talent like centre Malakai Fekitoa and fullback Charles Piutau.
But this wasn't a one-sided affair as the score shows.
Wellington contributed plenty to a free-flowing match and have a lively fullback of their own in Jason Woodward while wing Alapati Leuiua scored a double that helped the Lions to a deserved bonus point.
- © Fairfax NZ News
Should there be golden point extra time in Super Rugby?Related story: (See story)