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Anscombe keen to stay in spotlight

Published 09/08/2015

New Zealand-born Gareth Anscombe, centre, made an encouraging Wales debut against opening World Cup warm-up opponents Ireland
New Zealand-born Gareth Anscombe, centre, made an encouraging Wales debut against opening World Cup warm-up opponents Ireland

New Zealand-born Gareth Anscombe is determined to keep himself firmly in Wales' World Cup selection spotlight after making his Test debut at the Millennium Stadium.

Fly-half Anscombe, whose mother is from Cardiff, featured for most of the second period after going on as a substitute in Wales' 35-21 World Cup warm-up defeat against Ireland.

And he looked more assured in the role than the player he replaced - Gloucester's 74 times-capped James Hook - ahead of Wales head coach Warren Gatland preparing to make his first training squad personnel cut following a three-day camp in north Wales this week.

"It was a special moment for me and my family, who were in the stadium," Anscombe said. "It was nice to have them in the crowd.

"When I came here this was a goal of mine and to have it ticked off is a nice accomplishment. It was a proud moment to run out, and it made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up.

"Once you have a taste, you want more, and we all know what the end-goal is. I would love to be a part of it.

"I warmed up with the team in the Six Nations, but I didn't quite get to be a part of the match-day 23, so it was great to finally do that and I enjoyed the 30 minutes I got."

Anscombe's versatility as a fly-half and full-back could prove to be an important factor in the final World Cup selection reckoning - Gatland will announce his tournament squad on August 31 - and he was among only a small group of players who potentially enhanced their claims during a game that Ireland dominated throughout.

He offered more control and direction than Hook managed and his half-back partnership with Cardiff Blues colleague Lloyd Williams was central to an improved second-half display by Wales.

"You can never be fully confident, and there are a lot of 10s and 15s," Anscombe added. "There are a lot of talented players, and some good backs are going to miss out.

"You just have to keep training hard and take your opportunities on the field. I've got to survive the first cut and north Wales is another chance to showcase your skills.

"I am feeling a lot more comfortable in the squad. The Six Nations was more of a training role for me and getting a taste of things and an understanding of what the coaches want.

"I am still learning from Dan Biggar, Rhys Priestland and guys who have been around the environment, and there is a still a lot to improve on, but it was nice to get a taste.

"Being a 10, playing in a different playing environment, it took me a bit of time to get used to the way that things are done over here. I feel I am getting a better grasp of that, and hopefully in time I can develop into a leader and take a few opportunities."

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