Cardiff Blues have confirmed the signing of Gareth Anscombe from current Super Rugby champions Chiefs on a long-term deal.
Gareth's signing is an absolutely crucial one for Cardiff Blues, especially following the departure of Leigh Halfpenny, and it shows our absolute intention to strengthen and bring world class players to our region
Anscombe, who can play fly half or full back, will make the move to BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park this summer and joins the exciting new-look squad under the guidance of new Director of Rugby Mark Hammett.
Highly-rated back Anscombe, who qualifies for Wales through his mother, has been a star performer in New Zealand and scored an impressive 268 points in his Super Rugby career.
The 23-year-old guided New Zealand Under-20s to the Junior World Championship three years ago and his eye-catching performances were vital in the Chiefs landing the title in 2013.
Anscombe will join the Cardiff Blues later this year following the completion of his ITM Cup commitments with Auckland.
Richard Holland, Chief Executive of Cardiff Blues, hailed the news that Anscombe has signed a contract with the region as a huge statement of intent for the future.
"We are absolutely delighted that Gareth has decided to join the Cardiff Blues family. I'm sure supporters across Welsh rugby will be extremely excited about his arrival," he said.
"Gareth is a fantastically talented player, a true winner, after securing successive title with the Chiefs, and also a very driven and ambitious young man.
"When Mark Hammett was appointed as our new Director of Rugby we spoke about potential signings and Gareth was always top of that list. Hammer was extremely keen to bring him over and now we have concluded that deal after months of negotiations.
"Gareth's signing is an absolutely crucial one for Cardiff Blues, especially following the departure of Leigh Halfpenny, and it shows our absolute intention to strengthen and bring world class players to our region.
Anscombe said: "My decision to leave New Zealand has been a tough one. I have loved every minute of career here in NZ and would like to say a special thanks to the Chiefs and Auckland Rugby for everything they have done for me.
"However, in consultation with my family, I came to the conclusion that the opportunity in Wales was one that I simply couldn't turn down.
"I am really excited to be joining a region like Cardiff Blues. I was lucky enough to be able to visit last year so have a degree of familiarity with the club and people that will hopefully help me hit the ground running and start contributing to what I hope will be a successful season for the Blues.
"Much has been made about my Welsh eligibility and there is no doubt that my mother's side of the family have always reinforced my Welshness. However, I am under no illusions and 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."
Robin McBryde and son Billy are set to represent Wales on either side of the globe over the coming weeks with Robin travelling to New Zealand as Wales assistant coach and Billy competing at the World Rugby U20 Championship (Manchester, June 7-25). WRU TV caught up with the pair and captured a unique perspective into the factors that produce such a high-achieving rugby family.
Wales assistant coach Robin McBryde is predicting a tough battle against England on Sunday despite the fact they may not be considered to be at full strength. Players will be out to impress Eddie Jones which makes England a dangerous proposition, he says.
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