Ospreys tell Wales to 'be very mindful over what Gareth Anscombe does' after star's call-up three games into comeback

By Mark Orders

The Ospreys have sent Wales a message of caution over Gareth Anscombe after the star fly-half's inclusion in Wayne Pivac's squad for the autumn series.

The fresh comments come just days after head coach Toby Booth warning that the 30-year-old needs more match-time before being thrust into the international stage following his return from two years on the sidelines with a knee injury.

Anscombe is just three games into his comeback after 25 months out, and while Booth made clear he trusts Pivac and his staff to make the right calls, he did stress the importance of Wales' 'physical, medical boys being very mindful over what Anscombe does and how he does it.'

Booth said: “Gareth’s delighted to have had his Welsh call-up. We’ll be in constant communication with everybody to try and keep everyone’s resources as fit as we can.

“Ultimately, it’s Wayne’s decision (on how much rugby he plays in the autumn Tests), not my decision.

“I can obviously input into it. But it’s really the physical, medical boys that need to be very mindful of what he does and how he does it.”

You can read the full transcript of Wayne Pivac's press conference here.

Booth had previously said he felt Anscombe needed ‘more time in the saddle’ prior to resuming his Test career, while conceding it wasn’t his call.

Wales have since picked him in their 38-man squad for the forthcoming Tests against New Zealand, South Africa, Fiji and Australia, with Pivac fully up to speed about Anscombe's fitness and readiness or not for the Test scene.

So far into his return, the Ospreys have erred on the side of caution, taking Anscombe off early in every game he has played.

While he couldn’t stop them sliding to a disappointing defeat against the Sharks last time out, he had been impressive in his other two outings, guiding the team to a win over the Dragons and winning the man-of-the match award against Cardiff.

He has also nailed 13 consecutive kicks at goal.

Rhys Priestland, Dan Biggar and Callum Sheedy are the other No. 10s in the Wales set-up this autumn.

With England-based Biggar and Sheedy unavailable for the out-of-window Test against New Zealand on October 30, Anscombe is certain to feature in the Autumn opener.

“No-one’s going to turn down the opportunity when it comes along,” said Booth.

“That’s what you play the game for, to play at the highest level, and we’re looking forward to seeing Gareth back out on the stage, which is the culmination of a very long journey back from a prolonged injury.

“It’s a good testament to the mental strength that he’s shown.”

Away to Benetton this weekend, the Ospreys have Stephen Myler to assist with the No. 10 duties if required.

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