The round 7 match this weekend between the Chiefs and Blues is going to be a chance to stick it to his old team for new Chiefs player Gareth Anscombe. After de-listing him post 2012 Super Rugby season, one must imagine that with a success rate of 86.4% with the boot this season, the Blues will be kicking themselves that they let him go. Yes. That pun was completely intentional. Anscombe was quickly drafted by the Chiefs, who obviously saw the potential in him, that new Blues coach, John Kirwan, was unable to.
Anscombe has proved Rennie right since the very start of the season – to date he has had 37 attempts at goal, slotting 32 of those kicks. This success with the boot doesn’t seem to be a one off though, and really makes you wonder what JK and the rest of the Blues selectors were thinking. In the 2012 Super Rugby campaign, Anscombe had a success rate of 70%, which given the Blues performance in 2012, is quite remarkable. It could almost be said that any glimmer of success the Blues has, was related to the boot of Anscombe. In the 2012 ITM Cup campaign, Anscombe was top point scorer, with a total of 193 points (37 penalties, 31 conversions, as well as 4 tries).
While the reasons for his de-listing were never made public, it is clear that Anscombe is using whatever those reasons were, as motivation to perform to the highest standard in the 2013 season – something that Chiefs fans are hardly complaining about. Complaining, however, is probably something that a lot of Blues supporters are doing. While they seem to have a few players who are doing exceptionally well, kicking is one area where they aren’t overly competitive.
So far in the 2013 campaign the Blues two main kickers, Chris Noakes and Piri Weepu, are kicking at 66.6% and 46.6% respectively. No matter how many tries their speedy backs or powerful forwards get, games will be lost if Noakes and Weepu aren’t able to convert penalties into points. When penalty success rates are compared, Anscombe is again on top with 75%, followed by Noakes on 66.6%, with Weepu coming in with 62%.
While Anscombe is proving Rennie right and Kirwan wrong, he can also be thought of as an investment into the future for the Chiefs. Anscombe is only 21 – technically it can be presumed that he has at least another 10 years of playing, and his talent is only going to continue improving. While other teams (such as the Crusaders) have goal kickers who are going to realistically be coming to the end of (NZ) career in 2 or 3 years time, the Chiefs have two young and very successful kickers who aren’t even in their prime yet.
It’s a fact that a lot of games come down to which kickers make the penalties and conversions count, and I would personally love to see that type of game this weekend when the Chiefs take on the Blues. Even more, I would love to see the look on JK’s face as Anscombe successfully converts the winning points for the Chiefs, after dismal efforts by Weepu and Noakes.
If I sound like I am coming from a biased position – of preferring one team over the other, then you’d be damn right. Everyone outside of Auckland knows that when it comes to rugby, netball, gumboot throwing, snail racing (and on and on and on) you support your home team & anyone playing Auckland!
Now, my pervy friends, it is time for Mr Anscombe to be McBonbon-ed. That’s right, it’s time for him to be rated on the McBonbon scale!
Hot Daddy points: 0
Facial scruff: 1
Overall hotness: 4
McBonbon Scale standings:
52% – Matt Todd
24% – Gareth Anscombe