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Wales playmaker Gareth Anscombe signs for Tokyo Suntory Sungoliath

By Finn Morton
Gareth Anscombe with some Wales team-mates (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)

After leaving Ospreys, Gareth Anscombe has officially found a new club. The Wales outside-half has signed a deal with Tokyo Suntory Sungoliath from the 2023/24 season.

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The New Zealand-born playmaker, who has played 39 Test matches for Wales, was officially unveiled as the Japanese clubs’ latest signing in the early hours of Friday morning (BST).

Injuries limited Anscombe’s time on the field to just four matches in the URC this season, but there’s no doubting the talent, skill and experience the playmaker brings to the Tokyo-based club.

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“It is a great honour coming to play for a team like Sungoliath,” Anscombe said in a statement.

“I can’t wait to get over to Japan and play in front of the fans and experience the Japanese lifestyle and culture.

“I look forward to joining the team later in the year and getting stuck in with the boys.”

Anscombe was included in Warren Gatland’s 43-man Wales squad for a Rugby World Cup training camp in Turkey.

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The 32-year-old was included in the team along with Dan Biggar and Sam Costelow who are also options at first-five eighth.

“We’re really pleased with how our two-week training camp has gone in Switzerland. The players worked extremely hard and made some really good progress,” coach Gatland said.

“As well as having the natural benefits from living at high altitude, players experienced temperatures in the mid-to-late thirties during our on-pitch session which will be good preparation for our camp in Turkey.

“The 43 players travelling to Turkey are all available for selection for the first match against England on 5 August. Those not travelling remain in our wider training squad and will join back up with us on our return to Wales.”

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Anscombe joins winger Cheslin Kolbe at the Tokyo-based club, with the World Cup-winning Springbok inking a deal after leaving European powerhouse Toulouse.

Kolbe had been linked with a return to the Stormers in South Africa, but ended up signing a lucrative deal – which was believed to be worth R18 million ($1.5m NZD) a season.

“I’m so excited to confirm I will be joining Tokyo Suntory Sungoliath in the Japan Rugby League One competition after this year’s World Cup,” Kolbe said earlier this year.

“This is going to be a new chapter and challenge in my career, and I’d like to thank everyone who made this move possible.

“Suntory is a team with an impressive history, and I am looking forward to making new memories with the team over the seasons ahead.

“To the fans, I hope to put in some performances that you can all enjoy. See you soon!”

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