Height: 1.83m (6′ 0”)
Weight: 95kg (15st 0 lb)
Date of Birth: 29th October 1985
Birthplace: Glasgow, Scotland
Joe Ansbro has been catching the eye in the midfield of Northampton Saints so far this season, and The Rugby Blog believes he will be one to watch for the future – Martin Johnson: no doubt you read this blog regularly, so take note if you haven’t already.
Despite being a member of the Saints Academy since 2006-07, Joe has been a more familiar face around the cobbly streets of Cambridge during his recent undergraduate years in which he read Natural Sciences at Robinson College. His raw pace, coupled with his quick feet and solid defence earned him top university honours and were the stamps of a solid rugby upbringing at Stonyhurst College, whose past pupils include Iain Balshaw and Kyran Bracken.
Ansbro played a starring role in the U21 Oxford v Cambridge varsity match when one of his trademark scintillating breaks led to the decisive winning try in the last minute for the Light Blues at Twickenham. He went on to win two Blues representing the university first team against Oxford in one of rugby’s oldest fixtures. In his second year, he started at outside centre in the Blues game, and again, was a cut above the Dark Blues backline, but it was in the 2006 Varsity Match that Ansbro stood up to be counted by completely outclassing his opposite man – a certain Mr. Joe Roff (yes, that’s right, the same World Cup-winning Australian international that Johnno selected in his all-time greatest World Cup side).
Since graduating from Cambridge, Ansbro has come up through the ranks of the Saints Senior Academy, stepping up into the first team during the 2007-08 season to great effect, despite an injury-plagued end to the previous season. Ansbro made his Saints debut away at Moseley and a try-scoring first start against Rotherham at Franklin’s Gardens. During the last third of the season, he became a mainstay in the number 13 shirt and a regular on the scoreboard, including in the EDF Energy National Trophy final win against Exeter at Twickenham.
Ansbro will now have his resolve tested by the best that the Premiership and European Challenge Cup have to offer, and has already graced the scoresheet in Saints’ opening matches – definitely one to watch for the future.