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Gareth Anscombe is finally set to play his first match in 761 days

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Lynne Cameron/Getty Images)

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Gareth Anscombe is finally poised to make his long-awaited debut for the Ospreys 29 months after the Welsh region first trumpeted their signing of the Grand Slam-winning out-half from rivals Cardiff in April 2019. Finally fit after his extraordinarily lengthy injury layoff, he has been included in the 30-man Ospreys squad for their pre-season clash away to Northampton.  

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It was more than two-and-a-half years ago when the club snapped up Anscombe’s services just weeks after he had helped Wales to Six Nations title glory versus Ireland. “The signing of Gareth is a real statement for the Ospreys,” enthused general manager Dan Griffiths at the time.

“His performances at both club and international level over the last year have been standout, and have attracted the attention of a number of high profile clubs across Europe.

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“To secure his services not only signifies the intent and ambition we have as a region, but it also reflects an environment and culture that players of Gareth’s calibre want to be a part of.

“His experience and character will challenge and drive the established quality and exciting young talent we have around him. To add his attacking ability and guile to our backline is an exciting prospect for Ospreys supporters.”

This ‘statement’ signing has unfortunately yet to appear in the Ospreys jersey as Anscombe suffered knee ligament damage when playing for Wales at Twickenham in an August 2019 pre-World Cup friendly and it is only now that he is finally available to make his new club debut having endured a setback last year during his initial recovery from the serious injury.   

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Such has been the length of the now 30-year-old’s stint on the sidelines since his Test level misfortune that he will have been absent for 761 days – nearly 109 weeks – when he features at Franklin’s Gardens on Friday. He tweeted last week ahead of his comeback: “Enjoying some time back in the middle, not far now.”

 

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