Sort out Welsh club mess, warns Anscombe

Grand Slam winner Gareth Anscombe has called on the power-brokers to sort out Welsh rugby’s domestic mess.

Sort out Welsh club mess, warns Anscombe

Grand Slam winner Gareth Anscombe has called on the power-brokers to sort out Welsh rugby’s domestic mess. Anscombe’s 20-point haul steered Wales to an emphatic victory over Ireland on Saturday, securing the Six Nations title and a first Grand Slam since 2012.

But political turmoil was never far away throughout the campaign, with Welsh regional rugby’s future template still unclear and many players in the dark due to contract negotiations being clouded by uncertainty. Cardiff Blues fly-half Anscombe, whose existing national dual contract expires at the end of this season, is thought to be a target for Gallagher Premiership clubs Bath and Harlequins. And the 27-year-old has delivered a powerful message to the Welsh Rugby Union and regional chiefs following Wales’ stunning Six Nations triumph.

Asked if the current strife had made him think about leaving for England, Anscombe said: “I think it has made all the boys think about that, to be honest.

“We’ve only got a 10-year window to really look after ourselves, and I guess the important thing is you don’t want to look back with any regrets. It has been tough with what is going on in Welsh rugby. It’s not ideal and not what you want to be dealing with as a player.

“Hopefully, we can put this mess behind us and focus on this (the Grand Slam), which we should all be really excited about.”

If Anscombe moves away from Wales, his Test career would be stalled as he is comfortably under the minimum 60-cap selection requirement to be eligible in that scenario.

“We all want to play for Wales — there is no doubt about that — but players need to be treated well, and we deserve to be. We are doing a hell of a lot for the team and the country, so we should be looked after. That needs to get sorted, and as players we deserve to get the best deals possible.

“There is a fair bit going on behind the scenes which needs to get sorted. I would love to keep playing for Wales, but we’ve got to work out a few things, for sure. We are a world-class team and we deserve to be where we are. We’re not far off beating anyone, we are number two in the world now, so hopefully that gets reciprocated both ways.

“I think we’ve given the Union something to be pretty proud about, and hopefully the Union and the regions can come together and sort out the best deals for the players, because that is important.”

Meanwhile, Cardiff Blues have announced the signing of Wales winger Josh Adams from Worcester ahead of next season The 23-year-old helped Wales to win the Grand Slam and scored three tries during the tournament, including efforts against England and Scotland.

“It is great to be returning to Wales and I cannot wait to link up with Cardiff Blues next season,” he said on club’s official website. “To play for Wales I need to play in Wales and Cardiff Blues is the best fit for me. I’m really looking forward to the next chapter at Cardiff Arms Park.”

Three other Grand Slam-winning stars have also signed new contracts with Scarlets. Jonathan Davies, Ken Owens, and Rob Evans, who all came through the Scarlets academy, have decided to extend their stay with their home region. Former Northampton player, director, and president Jon Raphael has died aged 66. The former Saints and England hooker made 159 appearances for Northampton before injury brought a premature end to his career in 1984.

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