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Anscombe insists Wales can head into Ireland clash with confidence

12th February 2018

Gareth Anscombe insists Wales can head to Ireland with confidence, following a gutsy peformance against England in the NatWest 6Nations on Saturday.

Anscombe was called into the starting line-up at the 11th hour for the Twickenham encounter, after Leigh Halfpenny was ruled out with a foot injury, and impressed at both full back and outside half.

The Cardiff Blues star added a late penalty to seal a losing bonus point for Warren Gatland’s side at Twickenham and impressed throughout, particularly when he moved to fly-half.
But the game was surrounded by controversy after he saw what may have been a decisive try ruled out by the TMO in the first half.

The utility back, who has 13 Test caps to his name, admits it was a “rollercoaster” 24-hours but was delighted at the opportunity to impress on the international stage.

“We came here to win and we didn’t get the win. We are disappointed with that but considering that first 10 to 15 minutes when we didn’t come out of the gates and they scored and had their crowd on top of us, we showed a lot of character to hold them out,” said Anscombe.

“In the second half we managed to move the ball slightly and change the point of attack – we’ve just got to be better at finishing off when we make line busts.

“There were positives, some negatives and we can be confident going to Dublin in a couple of weeks.

“Both teams were absolutely exhausted and in the last five minutes we were throwing the ball around and both teams were pretty stuffed.

“I wouldn’t say we are fitter than anyone else but we work extremely hard and there is a real will to get up for each other in this team. You’ve just got to try and get off the floor.

“That’s something that we can keep building on and if we play with that intensity then we can get on top of most teams.

“The game had opened up slightly. It was good to get in the front line a bit more and I was able to make a couple of busts.

“I thought I added a little bit there but I was helped by the game. We managed to move them side to side and their tight forwards were getting tired, and I managed to sneak through a couple of holes.”

“It was a rollercoaster 24 hours but it was great to get out there and try and impact the game

“I got the shoulder tap from ‘Gats’ (Gatland). It’s nerve-racking in the sense that you haven’t prepared for that but it gave me a day to get my head around the role.

“I sat down with ‘Pence’ (Halfpenny) and made sure I knew what was expected – I’ve played 15 the majority of my time with Wales, and in some big games.”

According to Anscombe, the disallowed try was frustrating but he insists his side refused to dwell on the decision.

Anscombe said: “I felt some pressure of the ball on the ground, I thought that I got it down but the decision didn’t go our way.

“That was disappointing because it potentially would have changed the momentum, but ultimately it was still early on in the game and we had a lot of chances to fix it.

“The TMOs don’t always get it right, which is frustrating but you can’t do much about that. We were confident once we saw the first replay and started jogging back.

“From a team’s point of view it would have been nice because it would have changed the momentum. We had a rough start and didn’t come out of the blocks well, so going back to the sheds at 12-7 would have been a different ball game.

“It would have been nice for the team and from an individual point of view it would have been nice to have my first Test try, but we didn’t get it and ultimately we lost the game.

“It was something that was dealt with there and then, we had to move on.

“At half-time we talked about regrouping and felt that we settled a few of our defensive mistakes. We wanted to score first and get ourselves back into the game.

“We thought that even though we hadn’t fired a lot of shots in the first half, we were within a score of being right back in an arm wrestle.

“We were confident that we could get ourselves back into it and did that relatively well in the second half. We just missed a couple of opportunities to sneak it.”