His 2019 dream was wrecked when he badly damaged his knee at Twickenham in a warm-up game against England. He went into that game having led Wales to a Grand Slam.
It took him two years to work his way back to full fitness and he worked remarkably hard to force his way back into the international reckoning. He will get his first start at the World Cup since 2015 when he partners Tomas Williams at half-back in the round two game against Portugal in Nice.
“I just went to chop George North and just got his knee flush on the thumb. It didn’t look great at the start and the initial prognosis was it was probably going to need surgery,” said Anscombe.
“Frustratingly, it happened right at the end of the last scrum during a session in Turkey. It didn’t look great and I had to go and have a scan.
“Thankfully, the scans came back better than first thought and it looked like there would be a chance of coming back right.
“I was in a cast for a month, which was difficult, but at least I could still run. I missed the warm-up games but to have the backing of the coaching staff was great.
“They spoke to me and said I was still in their plans, which was nice to hear. It’s been about getting myself right and ready for when an opportunity presented itself, and here we are this weekend.”
“I suppose I had a night in Turkey when I thought I was done again. That was devastating and I did have some dark thoughts.
“I had some luck on my side for once and to get back here, and be backed by the medical and coaching staff by being picked having not played in the warm-up games, was great.”
While Anscombe has partnered Williams at both regional level with Cardiff Blues as well as with Wales, he hasn’t played with his centres Johnny Williams and Mason Grady.
He can’t wait to get his chance and is hoping to continue the upward curve for Wales after the 32-16 victory over Fiji in Bordeaux.
“There has been an element of confidence brewing. The more time we spend together, we always improve,” said Anscombe.
“You always need an element of luck at World Cups, with injuries and decisions. We just hope to slowly go about our work and ride the wave.
“We had fantastic support last weekend. I think more people will jump on the plane and come over to get behind us. When the Welsh fans get behind us, who knows what can happen?”