Gareth Anscombe: Wales international looks to stake his claim at 10

By Gareth GriffithsBBC Sport Wales
Gareth Anscombe
Gareth Anscombe is the son of former Auckland and Ulster coach Mark Anscombe

Gareth Anscombe says he aims to making a case for the Wales 10 shirt when they host Scotland in the opening autumn international in Cardiff.

Anscombe has won 18 caps with only three starts coming in his favoured fly-half position.

Rivals Dan Biggar and Rhys Patchell are both unavailable for the Scotland encounter.

"It is a good opportunity and a chance to put a stake in the ground," said Anscombe.

"I am just looking forward to ripping into it. Wales are pretty blessed with number 10s at the moment and there is a lot of competition for places. That's good for the squad.

"I get first opportunity in this series, and I want to perform well and fight for the spot."

New Zealand-born Anscombe, whose mother is from Cardiff, first featured for Wales more than three years ago.

The 27-year-old has excelled at full-back for Cardiff Blues this season, with uncapped Jarrod Evans - he is among Wales' replacements against Scotland - wearing the number 10 shirt.

Northampton's Biggar is unavailable because the match falls outside World Rugby's international window while Patchell is recovering from concussion.

It is at fly-half where many judges feel Anscombe can be most effective, controlling tactical direction and also providing outside backs like British and Irish Lions trio Jonathan Davies, George North and Leigh Halfpenny.

"My versatility has been well-documented, and I am glad I can play in both positions, certainly at this level," he said.

"I am glad to be getting the chance to play at 10 because it is where I prefer to be playing.

"With some guys being injured and others not being able to play, it has given me an opportunity. This is my chance to put my hand up, and it is an opportunity I need to take."

Anscombe is aware he is playing in a position that offers no option to hide.

"Sometimes you can win or lose games and rightly or wrongly number 10s can come in for a bit of criticism," he said.

"And when things are going well, you can often get more credit than you deserve. It is part of the position, and most 10s understand that.

"I want to make sure I do the little things well and try not to over-think or over-play my hand. It is my opportunity to be my own man this weekend."

Starting against Scotland, Wales have a 13-Test schedule before their World Cup opener against Georgia next September, and Anscombe looks set to play a key part in that build-up.

"Anyone who says they are not thinking about it (World Cup) are lying, but there is a long way to go and we have a pretty important Six Nations to set ourselves up," he said.

"These next weeks are important to play well and get the team the right results. Everyone is focussing on the here and now.

"Our game has really changed and evolved since I have been here. Hopefully, we will shock a few teams."

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