Gareth Anscombe set to start for Wales against All Blacks as Alun Wyn Jones says he’s ready

Gareth Anscombe is set to be handed his first Test start in over two years against New Zealand this weekend.

And his captain Alun Wyn Jones believes that the signs the fly-half has shown in training are more than enough proof that he is ready.

As first reported by the Guardian, Wayne Pivac is set to trust Anscombe with the starting jersey ahead of Rhys Priestland when he names his team for this weekend’s clash on Thursday – with both English-based Dan Biggar and Callum Sheedy unavailable for the visit of New Zealand.

But, despite not playing a Test match since August 2019, when he suffered major ligament damage in a World Cup warm-up against England, his skipper believes he is up to the challenge.

“The length of time and the setbacks he has had along the way, it is a credit to him and what he has put in,” Jones said.

“Irrelevant of if you are fit and playing every week, people only see the Saturdays.

“Gareth would probably say himself that he has been through some dark periods when he was coming close to a return and having a setback here or there.

“He has still got the fight and desire, and if anything it is probably more so than before because he has had that time away from the game. To see him back in the squad and what he gives to the environment is huge.

“Those characteristics which you see in a player who has been through so much is good, and it can spawn a lot of determination from those around him.

“When someone comes back from adversity or a long time out, and you can see their energy growing and the smile back on their face, that is really important to a squad.

“You can feel like you are on an island when you are injured, without being too cliched about it.

“But to see the fight and bite that he has got, holding people to account in training, is when you know someone has their foot back in the door and is ready to have a crack.”


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