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Gareth Anscombe

Gareth Anscombe

Anscombe on the mend

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Ospreys head coach Toby Booth has given an optimistic update on injured Wales star Gareth Anscombe, predicting he will be back sooner rather than later.

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The Wales outside half hasn’t played since injuring his knee in a World Cup warm-up against England at Twickenham 16 months ago and has already undergone two operations.

Fears for his future have been raised, but Booth believes the man the Ospreys signed from Cardiff Blues to lead them out of the doldrums, but has yet to don the jersey, is finally on the mend.

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“We are pretty confident from what we’ve seen that he’s going to get back,” said Booth.

“He’s going really well and he’s around us a lot more now because he’s able to do big sessions. He’s coming along nicely, which is really encouraging for him and for us.

“He’s in a scenario where we need to be very careful, because of a double injury, as in the same injury taking a great amount of time. We need to err on the side of caution.

“We’ll go as fast as his body lets him go and maybe we’ll see him back on a pitch some time this season.”

Booth was forced to sign 36-year-old former England outside half Steve Myler to fill his No 10 shirt in the absence of Anscombe. To make matters worse Luke Price picked up a big injury, Cai Evans has undergone surgery and Josh Thomas has had to learn on the hoof in his first real season of senior rugby.

On the question of when Anscombe, a Grand Slam hero in 2019, might return, Booth said it was in the hands of the regions medical team.

“I’ve spoken to the medics about when we think it might be. I’m very mindful from a psychological point of view about creating a false dawn, both internally and externally,” said Booth.

“It will be governed by how quickly Gareth gets there. There’s no pressure on him.”

“The question of when he gets back will depend on how he responds to the last part of his training. What happens is that you get to 80 to 85 percent of where you need to be and that last 15 percent is very difficult.

“There’s a psychological element, about being emotionally and physically ready and about trusting your body.

“So we need to condition the player both physically and mentally to be able to perform, especially in the position that he plays.”

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