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Cane issues tongue-in-cheek warning for former teammate Anscombe

By Tom Vinicombe
Gareth Anscombe and Sam Cane celebrate winning the Super Rugby title for the Chiefs in 2013. (Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)

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Chances are there’ll be a handful of current and former Chiefs running out when New Zealand take on Wales this weekend – but they won’t all necessarily be wearing black.

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Gareth Anscombe made his return to first-class footy for Ospreys last month, having not played a match since injuring his ACL against England in a Rugby World Cup warm-up back in 2019.

The 30-year-old flyhalf was, at that stage, the first-choice No 10 for Wales and was expected to play a key role in the side’s campaign in Japan but instead missed the entirety of the tournament and has been on the long road to recovery since.

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Sam Cane is slowly building his way back to fitness.
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Sam Cane is slowly building his way back to fitness.

Anscombe debuted for Wales in 2015 but spent his formative years in New Zealand, progressing through local and national age-grade sides before eventually landing at the Chiefs, where he helped his franchise clinch a Super Rugby title in 2013.

At that stage, Sam Cane and Brodie Retallick were a couple of seasons into their time at the Chiefs – although the trio had also played together earlier in their careers for the New Zealand Under 20s side.

Anscombe made the decision to part ways with the Chiefs after two years in the Waikato and headed to Wales, where he was fast-tracked into the national side.

Now, he’s set to again wear the national colours over the coming weeks and could line up against the All Blacks for the second time when the sides clash in Cardiff this Saturday.

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Cane and Retallick, meanwhile, could both feature for the All Blacks, with the former still on the mend from a relatively major injury of his own, which saw him only play his first test of the year against the USA last weekend.

Unsurprisingly, the pair are both looking forward to seeing ‘Chicken’, as Anscombe is known, back out on the park.

“Chicken and I go back a wee while. I think we played New Zealand Schools and then [Under] 20s together,” Cane told media on Tuesday, before dropping some typical Kiwi humour. “Then Brodie Retallick and myself took him under our wing at the Chiefs and toughened him up from a city kid into the player that he is today. Brodie and I were talking about how hopefully one of us can get out there and play in the weekend and get a hold of him at a ruck maybe.

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“With the Covid restrictions and the bubble – and I think the Welsh team are pretty similar – there probably won’t be any catching up prior to the test match.

“But the injury that he suffered with his ACL [was] particularly cruel, being the World Cup year. And then to have the complications that he had to get his femur broken to realign his knee, just horrific stuff. To have a total of almost two years out… Look I’m talking after coming back after six or seven months and how challenging that was, so he’s a tough little character and just awesome to see him back playing footy and to see him selected in the Welsh squad will be nice reward for countless thousands of hours of hard work, no doubt.”

Retallick shared similar sentiments:

“Similar to Sam, we played age-grade footy and then the Chiefs,” he said.

“He’s a good friend of mine, we still keep in contact pretty regularly. I know it’s been a long battle for him and obviously to come back, I think he got man of the match in his first club game back which, to do that after two years [shows] how classy he is. Hopefully, we get to come up against each other in the weekend and I look forward to it.”

Both the All Blacks and Wales will name their sides for Saturday’s match later in the week.

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Cane issues tongue-in-cheek warning for former teammate Anscombe

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