Gareth Anscombe has been reminding the Ospreys of what they’ve been missing as he progresses through his rehabilitation.
The playmaker has not been seen on a rugby field since suffering a serious knee injury in August 2019, but things are moving in the right direction.
Much to the delight of Ospreys and Welsh rugby fans, the region released a clip of the 27-cap fly-half taking part in training, mixing it with the likes of Lions skipper Alun Wyn Jones and openside Justin Tipuric.
Though he is still not taking contact in sessions, Ospreys boss Toby Booth says he is being prepared for a big season next term.
“It [Anscombe’s presence in training] has a rub-off effect on the team and you see a few things which remind you of what you’re missing,” said Booth.
“From that point of view it’s really exciting and hopefully it’s on and on and up and up from here.
“He’s still a way off to be fair. He’s doing parts of training. He’s obviously not in contact and as I’ve said to you previously, we’re ticking boxes with him as we go. Part of that is how Gareth feels and how he responds.
“We’re setting him up for a big year next year which is exciting. It’s great to see him out there and the more we can get out of him – I don’t just mean physically, I mean an understanding of what we’re trying to do – it only bodes well for him and for us.”
Is Anscombe Wales’ best fly-half when fully fit? Have your say in the comments
We want you to be on top of everything that’s happening around Welsh rugby and the Lions.
To get the latest daily Welsh rugby headlines, analysis and interviews – plus rugby correspondent Simon Thomas’ weekly briefing – sent straight to your inbox for FREE, click here and select ‘rugby’.
Moving into a training session with team-mates is a significant step in a player’s return from a long-term injury.
In an instant, Anscombe’s World Cup dream was taken away from him and, in some ways, it turned his life upside down because the injury has prevented the player from doing what he loves.
Booth highlighted the psychological impact of Anscombe edging closer to full training and looked ahead to getting a full pre-season under his fly-half’s belt.
“For any person that has had the thing they like to do the most taken away from them, there is a physiological hole for sure,” explained Booth.
“To get that opportunity to come back to you is a massive adrenaline rush for him that’s for sure.
“Our pre-season will start at the end of July – it will be five weeks or so off, depending on where we finish. There are individual cases for everyone.
“With the amount of time he has had off, it’s great psychologically for him to be out there again.
“It’s good for Welsh rugby, it’s good for everyone, and a big, solid pre-season will set him up nicely to kick on.”