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Gareth Anscombe visits Kingsholm as Gloucester hunt new fly-half

By Neil Fissler
Wales' Gareth Anscombe (Photo by Paul Harding/Getty Images)

Gareth Anscombe has been shown around Kingsholm as Gloucester step up their bid to sign a new fly-half, with Scotland international Adam Hastings joining Glasgow next season.

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Hastings confirmed his departure earlier this month after contract talks with the Cherry and Whites stalled at the last minute, allowing the Warriors to make their move.

RugbyPass understands that Gloucester were keen to re-sign out-of-favour Ireland international Billy Burns, who made nearly 100 appearances for the Gallagher Premiership club. He is leaving Ulster this summer but has opted for Munster instead.

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The 32-year-old Auckland-born Anscombe, an ex-New Zealand U20s international who has won 37 Wales caps, was due to play for Japanese outfit Tokyo Suntory Sungoliath after the recent Rugby World Cup in France.

However, his registration was cancelled just two weeks after signing when a scan revealed he needed an operation on the groin he damaged during the warm-up before Wales’ World Cup clash with Georgia.

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Anscombe faced 10 weeks on the sideline after undergoing the operation. Under Japan League One rules, teams can only register three category three players (foreign-capped players) at any one time.

He could be re-registered by Suntory, who replaced him with Argentina’s Nicolas Sanchez, if he regains his fitness before the end of the club season which runs until May.

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Anscombe, who left the Ospreys at the end of last season, has been doing his rehab in South Wales and is thinking over Gloucester’s offer after meeting them for talks and a guided tour of their facilities.

He is the second big name linked this week with George Skivington’s ninth-place Premiership side as RugbyPass revealed on Tuesday that they were also weighing up a move for ex-England winger Christian Wade, who is currently playing for Racing 92.

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Poorfour 10 hours ago
The AI advantage: How the next two Rugby World Cups will be won

AI models are really just larger and less transparent variants of the statistical models that have been in use since Moneyball was invented. And a big difference between the Icahn centre’s results and AI today is that ChatGPT-like Large Language Models can explain (to some degree) how they reached their conclusions. In terms of what impact they will have, I suspect it will have two primary impacts: 1) It will place a premium on coaching creativity 2) It will lead to more selections that baffle fans and pundits. Analysts will be able to run the models both ways: they will see their own team’s and players’ weaknesses and strengths as well as the opposition’s. So they will have a good idea at what the other team will be targeting and the decisive difference may well be which coaches are smart enough to think of a gameplan that the other side didn’t identify and prepare for. For players, it places a premium on three key things: 1) Having a relatively complete game with no major weaknesses (or the dedication to work on eliminating them) 2) Having the tactical flexibility to play a different game every week 3) Having a point of difference that is so compelling that there isn’t a defence for it. (3) is relatively rare even among pro players. There have been only a handful of players over the years where you knew what they were going to do and the problem was stopping it - Lomu would be the classic example. And even when someone does have that, it’s hard to sustain. Billy Vunipola in his prime was very hard to stop, but fell away quite badly when the toll on his body began to accumulate. So coaches will look for (1) - a lack of exploitable weaknesses - and (2) - the ability to exploit others’ weaknesses - ahead of hoping for (3), at least for the majority of the pack. Which is likely to mean that, as with the original Moneyball, competent, unshowy players who do the stuff that wins matches will win out over outrageous talents who can’t adapt to cover their own weaknesses. Which will leave a lot of people on the sidelines sputtering over the non-inclusion of players whose highlights reels are spectacular, but whose lowlight reels have been uncovered by AI… at least until the point where every fan has access to a sporting analysis AI.

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