Wellington - Outgoing Chiefs back Gareth Anscombe said on Friday that he
decided to switch his allegiance from New Zealand to Wales after
realising he had little hope of making the All Blacks.
23, who has signed to play for the Cardiff Blues, said he spoke with All
Blacks coach Steve Hansen earlier this year and found he was down the
pecking order in his favoured position of flyhalf.
"There was a
lot of factors but I mean, there's a lot of classy 10s that are floating
around in New Zealand right now and they're all pretty young as well,"
he told Radio Sport.
"It's a good sign for rugby in this country that there is that problem I suppose."
Zealand has an embarrassment of riches in the pivot's position, with
superstar Dan Carter top of the list and the likes of Aaron Cruden and
Beauden Barrett proving more than capable understudies.
qualifies to play for Wales through his Cardiff-born mother and said his
family had always reinforced his "Welshness" even though he was born
and raised in Auckland.
He said performing for the Blues was his
top priority but if he was presented with the chance to earn
international honours in his new adopted homeland he would not turn it
"My focus is very much on the Blues and if the opportunity
to represent Wales comes as a result of my performances on the pitch
then of course I will take it," he said.
New Zealand has a policy
of not considering overseas-based players for the All Blacks and
Anscombe said the decision to move was a tough one.
consultation with my family, I came to the conclusion that the
opportunity in Wales was one that I simply couldn't turn down," he said.
who can play at flyhalf or fullback, will work under Cardiff's new
director of rugby, former Hurricanes coach Mark Hammett.