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Anscombe's search for Welsh acceptance


'I was crucified' - Gareth Anscombe still searching for Welsh acceptance

Gareth Anscombe revealed recently that Welsh supporters have been reluctant to accept him since his move to Cardiff in 2014.

“For some reason, my name has managed to rile up a lot of people in Wales and I’m not too sure why,” Anscombe told the Daily Mail.

“Maybe it’s because it got built up a lot, or my connection to Gats [coach Warren Gatland], for some reason. Maybe that annoyed people. I just seem to be someone who has riled people up. I’ve learned to not get caught up in it.”

Auckland born and raised, Anscombe represented New Zealand at under-20 level and played Super Rugby for the Blues and Chiefs before making the shift to Cardiff after he was approached by Gatland in 2014.

Despite his Welsh mother, Anscombe said gaining the support of the country’s rugby supporters has been an ongoing battle.

“My mum is from Cardiff,” he said. “She still has a Welsh accent. And my grandparents – who have passed away now – were both born and bred in Wales. I know there are always arguments about time service and things like that, and I was crucified for that when I first came over here.

“I’ve made a real effort. When Hadleigh Parkes made his debut for Wales, he sang the national anthem. We made efforts to learn the anthem and I feel that shows we are connected to the place. It’s not an easy anthem to learn, I can tell you! I wanted to do that.

“I’ve been here almost four years now and hopefully people are starting to think of me as Welsh. Every now and then people will still say, ‘You’re a Kiwi’ and I don’t want to take away my New Zealand heritage, but that has taken time and it will continue to take time.”

Anscombe currently has 18 caps for Wales, and will be hoping to add to that figure when Gatland’s side assemble to take on Scotland, Tonga, Australia and South Africa next month.

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'I was crucified' - Gareth Anscombe still searching for Welsh acceptance