Gareth Anscombe ready to fill Cruden's boots
It has been a good two years since Gareth Anscombe lined up in the 10 jersey in Super Rugby but the Chiefs back will get his chance this weekend against the Rebels in Hamilton.
With Aaron Cruden out for six weeks with a broken thumb, Anscombe will take over the playmaking duties for the defending champions at Waikato Stadium tomorrow night.
The last time Anscombe was set to take the 10 jersey for the Chiefs was last year against the Force but he was injured days before the game, and was out for six weeks.
Coach Dave Rennie said Anscombe was the natural replacement for Cruden and would do a fine job.
"Logically, Gareth will start there.
"We've got Andrew Horrell as another option, or a backup," Rennie said. "We're pretty fortunate there.
"Gareth, we would have started him last year against the Force but he broke his foot. We've talked about giving him an opportunity and he gets it now, so he's pretty excited." Rennie had no concerns about Anscombe replacing Cruden at first five.
He said Anscombe knew the systems, knew his role and was clear on what the team were wanting to do on the field.
"He's got an excellent kicking game, he's very quick, he carries well, a good talker and he's got a really strong rugby brain, so we expect him to lead us around the field as Aaron does."
Anscombe said he was ready to step into the role and was excited about the opportunity in his natural position.
"In terms of the way Cruds has been, it's been well mentioned how good he's been for this team.
"He's a real leader, I suppose not only in the Chiefs but also in the All Blacks environment now."
Captain Liam Messam will have to take over more leadership duties with co-captain Cruden out, who, he said, would be a loss to the team.
However, he said the team was filled with strong leaders who would be able to step up during Cruden's absence. Fairfax NZ