A Judgement to be made on Anscombe

Posted by

The news that Gareth Anscombe will move from Cardiff Blues and head west to the Ospreys for next season has sparked a lot of conversation around the state of both businesses, and specifically the long-term consequences at the Arms Park.

I have been one of those and earlier in the week had a look at how his departure, although disappointing in the context of losing the Wales first choice fly-half, might actually work out well for Cardiff Blues in the longer term when building a squad.

However, there’s a much shorter term headache that John Mulvihill will have to deal with in the next week, and that is whether Gareth Anscombe features against the Ospreys at Judgement Day.

Now before getting into it I have to stress that I do not for a second doubt the professional integrity of the player at all. It has not crossed my mind that he would purposely influence the outcome of the game in favour of the opposition, and I’d suggest anyone who states that is being purposely incendiary.

It is for this reason, and the fact that he is clearly a top class player, that put two ticks in the column of ‘pick him’ when it comes to the game.

Obviously it is a huge one for Cardiff Blues as a win would see us finish the season as the top performing Welsh side in the Guinness Pro14 and give us a home tie in the Heineken Champions Cup play-off against the fourth place team in Conference B.

In games like this you want to put out your best available XV, and there should be little doubt in anyone’s mind that our best team on paper has Gareth Anscombe in it, whether that be at 10 or 15.

You would like to think he would want to end his time at Cardiff Blues on a high note, and winning in a Welsh derby and taking us into the European play-off would certainly achieve that.

Gareth Anscombe Australia
Gareth Anscombe is the current first choice Wales fly-half

There is a flip side though, and it is one that John Mulvihill, as well as Anscombe himself, will have to consider when it comes to lining up at the Principality Stadium.

All of the above regarding the fixture being a huge one in terms of finishing as the top Welsh region and getting into the Heineken Champions Cup play-off is also true for the Ospreys, who currently sit just above us in the Conference A table.

This means that Anscombe could potentially prevent his future employer qualifying for the top table of European rugby, and claiming the financial rewards that come with it, if selected to play for the Cardiff Blues.

Of course as our fly-half, and likely our goal kicker as well, it could even be a direct action of his that would see the Ospreys consigned to another season in the second tier European Challenge Cup.

As a result Anscombe needs to weigh up firstly whether he is in the right frame of mind to play at Judgement Day, and secondly whether he would be prepared to deal with his new employers, teammates and, crucially, supporters at the Liberty Stadium, on the back of kicking the Cardiff Blues to victory.

Then for John Mulvihill there is looking at how any subconscious decision making might adversely impact on the teams, and also weighing up dealing with any backlash should an honest mistake from the player occur.

On this occasion it appears to be a lose-lose situation for pretty much everyone involved, meaning there’s no easy answer to the question of ‘should Gareth Anscombe start against the Ospreys’.

This is definitely a week that I’m happy I’m not in charge at the Arms Park…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s