Blog Banner

Wales praise for Anscombe and Davies

15th June 2017

Robin McBryde has praised the form of Cardiff Blues star Gareth Anscombe ahead of Wales' Pasifika Challenge clash with Tonga on Saturday.

The 26-year-old will line-up at full-back on his former Eden Park stomping ground and is one of five Cardiff Blues in the starting line-up.

And Wales interim head coach McBryde has been quick to pile the praise on the playmaker for both his form and organisational leadership.

McBryde said: "I can't speak highly enough of what Gareth has brought to the trip. Right from the word go.

"He's on top of his game at the moment regionally and when you're playing well and aware of it you're a lot more vocal and that's what we need from someone like Gareth.

"He comes from a background of being able to play at a high tempo and because he's so comfortable, he's more than willing to step up and speak.

"By doing that, I'm sure players like Sam Davies and Owen Williams benefit from hearing him speak.

“It's much better as coaches being able to stand back, let the players get on with it and take ownership.

"That's one of the key messages, that they've got to problem solve themselves and Gareth has played a big role in that.

"I'm really looking forward to him coming home and performing in familiar territory. He hopefully wants to show people how much he's improved since he's been gone."

While it is a case for familiar territory for Anscombe, his regional teammate Seb Davies will be stepping into the unknown.

The versatile back-five forward was a surprise selection in the touring squad and he has now been named in the starting line-up for his international debut.

He has made just 15 appearances for the Blues to date, making his debut in 2014, but the potential is clear and that is something McBryde wants to put to the test.

McBryde said: "Seb Davies has responded really well in training. There is a void to be filled at second row because of players being unavailable with the Lions and he gets his chance on Friday. 

“The enthusiasm the youngsters have brought in training has been outstanding and we're looking forward to the game.

“He has come through the age grades at international level and I've watched him there especially for the Under-20's. Geraint Lewis highlighted Seb as somebody who he thought had the ability to cover the whole back five, to do the Ryan Jones type role of being able to slip from the back row to the second row.

"We have tried a number of players in that role with limited success. We did some tests at the National Centre of Excellence during the Six Nations. 

“Seb's figures and results really stood up very well against every other lock. It just makes you think, what else has this player got?"