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Anscombe steps up

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Thursday, April 10, 2014

WELLINGTON - It has taken an injury to five-eighth Aaron Cruden for Gareth Anscombe to get his shot in the Chiefs No.10 jersey and the 22-year-old is determined to make the most of it.

Cruden has played the past 42 games at five-eighth for the Chiefs since joining them in 2012.

But a broken thumb means the All Blacks pivot will be on the sidelines for the next six weeks, handing Anscombe his chance.

"Obviously Cruden is a big loss. Everyone knows the class he brings to the side. We will as a team miss him," said Anscombe ahead of Saturday's Super Rugby clash with the Melbourne Rebels in Hamilton.

"It's up to me to step into his shoes, step up for the team and make sure I bring the same sort of leadership and direction that he's shown over the last few years."

It is a challenge Anscombe is relishing after converting to fullback when he joined the Chiefs in 2013 and excelling there.

The Aucklander hasn't played at 10 since a Chiefs' pre-season game against the Highlanders last year. His last competition outing in the position was for Auckland in the ITM Cup in 2012.

But he is unfazed about making the switch.

"I've trained there with the Chiefs throughout the last two years. It's a chance for me now to put that into practice on the field," he said.

"I'm sure (the Rebels) will send a few runners my way. I'll have a big role to play in our defence. But at 10 I've really got to give this team good direction."

Anscombe, like Cruden, has an astute kicking game and is also willing to take on the line too.

It means the Chiefs' game plan should not be vastly different with Anscombe at the helm.

"Obviously there will be subtle little changes but I've played with him enough over the last two years and seen him in action so I know the way we try and play as a team."


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