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Cardiff Blues to thrive under the pressure of fiery Rodney Parade - Anscombe

23rd December 2017

Gareth Anscombe is ready to thrive under the pressure of a fiery Rodney Parade when his side travel along the M4 to take on east Wales rivals, Dragons on Boxing Day.

The clash kicks off a trio of back-to-back festive derbies for Wales’ Capital Region, where they will also host Scarlets on New Year’s Eve, before visiting Ospreys’ Liberty Stadium on January 6.
Anscombe is looking forward for the challenge ahead, and believes the Rodney Parade reception will provide extra motivation for his side.
“Look, I enjoy it. Those fierce environments are always a little bit more intense, but it brings the group together,” said the Welsh international.
“You really want to prove a point. When the crowd get on top of you, you really want to give it back to them.
“You want to be tested, you want to be in those fierce, intense environments. It’s a good challenge for us to encounter that.
“It’s always quite humorous as well. You can usually hear the odd comment here and there.
“I am sure they will want to get stuck into a few of us. We can only do our talking with our performance on the field. You can either run from it or embrace it.
“You have just got to be pretty positive in everything. You have got to flush mistakes and don’t let the crowd get on top of you.
“The Dragons are definitely on the up and it’s good for them that they get the home crowd behind them.
“I am sure it’s going to be quite testing and niggly and those are the ones the boys like playing in.
“We have got to stick together as a team and ride the momentum.The boys are well up for it and really looking forward to it.
“We have had some recent success there and we think we know what it takes to win there.”
Anscombe’s opposite number on the day will be veteran outside half, Gavin Henson, who has become a key component in the Dragons backline under Bernard Jackman.
It will be Anscombe’s first time facing the former Cardiff Blues player, who also had stints at Ospreys, Toulon, Saracens and Bath.
The 26-year-old praised the outside half’s influence on the Dragons and believes stopping the playmaker could disrupt the home side’s gameplay on the day.
Anscombe said: “He’s going to be a big part of their game-plan and we’ve got to deal with a few of his threats and get him off his game slightly if we can.” 
“You can see his experience has really helped settle them down a little bit by providing a cool head to guide them round the park. He does that tremendously well.
“He’s been a really calming influence on their team. They are a young side and he’s certainly helped steady them.
“He knows the game of rugby inside out.
“He’s got a massive boot on him and he can make the odd thing happen.
“He’s just an experienced customer. He knows where to create time and space for himself on the ball and he knows his lines really well.
“I haven’t played against Gavin yet, but his record and career speaks for itself.
“I actually bumped into him a few weeks ago and he’s a top bloke.”