Deutsche Tageszeitung - Bone graft helps Wales' Anscombe back into Rugby World Cup limelight

Bone graft helps Wales' Anscombe back into Rugby World Cup limelight

Bone graft helps Wales' Anscombe back into Rugby World Cup limelight
Bone graft helps Wales' Anscombe back into Rugby World Cup limelight / Foto: © AFP

Most players at the Rugby World Cup have had injury issues during their careers but Wales fly-half Gareth Anscombe is a rarity in having had a bone graft from a deceased donor inserted after rupturing knee ligaments.

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On Sunday, the 32-year-old came off the bench to provide a sublime performance as Wales reached the quarter-finals with a convincing 40-6 win over Australia.

His cameo for Dan Biggar, which included 20 points from the tee, a drop goal as well as a try assist in the space of 65 minutes, came two years since he recovered from the serious knee injury.

He had three operations, which included the insertion of the bone graft.

"I owe a lot to the people behind the scenes," Anscombe said after the Wallabies win.

"Our medical team did a fantastic job at getting me back on the field.

"The coaching staff backed me getting on with not much game time. I felt a little bit of sharpness came back, which was nice," he added.

Anscombe was born in New Zealand and in the 2011 under-20s World Championship, he started at fly-half for that country ahead of future senior All Blacks Beauden Barrett and Lima Sopoaga.

He then moved to Cardiff and made his Wales debut weeks before the 2015 World Cup, qualifying thanks to his mother, who was born in the Welsh capital.

Last weekend in Lyon, he jumped in the air in delight after setting up Nick Tomkins' try, which set the wheels in motion for the Wallabies victory.

"These moments are so intense," Anscombe said.

"You feel the pressure so it's nice to be able to release a little bit. I had my daughter and my boy on the field with me after the game which was special.

"We work hard so it's important we celebrate little things.

"At times you have to keep them in check and at times you've got to enjoy them as well," he added.

- 'Competition' -

Ever since the first of his 37 Wales caps in 2015, he has fought with Biggar for the pivotal No. 10 shirt, with youngster Sam Costelow also in Warren Gatland's squad.

"We've played similar roles before," said Anscombe.

"Clearly, there is always competition to grab the 10 jersey, but the main thing is we support each other.

"With myself, Dan or 'Costey', whoever gets picked, we're all capable of leading this team."

Biggar is a doubt for Wales' final group game, against Georgia on October 7, due to a pectoral problem so Anscombe could make just his fourth Test start since suffering the knee injury in 2019.

Another good performance would put the former Ospreys playmaker right in the mix for selection for the quarter-final the following week.

"Whoever starts and whoever comes off the bench has a role to play," Anscombe said.

"I'm much better for having 65 minutes under my belt so whatever role I'm picked to do, I feel I can take confidence, relax and hopefully build on it."