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Anscombe salutes teammates following European-winning kick

12th May 2018

Gareth Anscombe paid tribute to his Cardiff Blues teammates after slotting a last gasp penalty to win the European Challenge Cup.

Despite a stirring second-half comeback with tries from Tomos Williams and Garyn Smith it appeared as though Gloucester had done enough to win in Bilbao.

But Cardiff Blues had other ideas and their unrelenting desire was rewarded when Blaine Scully crossed for a late try.

Anscombe missed the touch line conversion but showed nerves of steel minutes late as he landed a penalty from the opposite flank to secure victory.

The triumph, which repeats the feat of 2010, left a sizeable travelling support in jubilation, while more than 3,000 celebrated at Cardiff Arms Park.

Anscombe said: “I was really disappointed missing that first conversion, you just want them to go over. 

“The first one didn’t go where I wanted it to but straight from the kick off all the boys were so positive about still playing, having a crack and we reacted really well.

“We had cross kick and Garyn Smith did really well to set up another shot for myself. 

“I guess I was just lucky to be given another shot, the team deserved a chance to win it and I tried to clear my head, stick to my routine and let the crowd tell me if it was over. I was just thankful when I picked up the tee that it went were it was supposed to go.”

Anscombe was one of the key orchestrators of the comeback, with a hand in every try and he revealed some honest appraisals at half-time put the Blues back on course. 

He added: “We were really disappointed with the way we presented ourselves in the first half. 

“We spoke all week about not letting the occasion get to us and to go out swinging. But in the first half we allowed them to dictate a lot and you have to give them credit for that but we lost the collisions, we turned the ball over quickly and it looked like we were just happy to be at the event.

“So there were some honest words at half time and we responded really well. That try (Tomos Williams) just after half time gave us a little bit of confidence that we could do it and even after they scored again and kicked a penalty there was unbelievable character from the boys to get back and give us that sniff of winning it.”

The victory in front of more than 30,000 in the San Mames Stadium capped an impressive year for the Blues, who have also secured European Champions Cup rugby for next season.

Ellis Jenkins added: “Since Christmas it’s been an enjoyable place to be, to go training every day and that has shown in performances on the pitch.

“It’s great fun. The way we finished is great for us and the first thing we wanted to do was get back in the changing room and share a couple of beers as mates to celebrate a big highlight from a season of two halves.”

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