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Final a special occasion for everyone associated with Cardiff Blues - Anscombe

22nd April 2018

The Challenge Cup final in Bilbao will be a special occasion for everyone associated with Cardiff Blues, says Gareth Anscombe.

The Welsh international crossed for the only try of the afternoon, as Wales’ Capital Region secured a 16-10 semi final victory over Pau at the Arms Park, sealing their place in May’s finale.

Danny Wilson’s side, who have already sealed a place in next season's Champions Cup, will come up against Gloucester in the Basque country, and will be keen to avenge last year’s quarter final exit at Kingsholm.

Anscombe is excited at the unpredictable nature of cup finals, but insists the focus remains on next week’s Judgement Day encounter against Ospreys.

“It will be a tremendous occasion. We knew how much it meant, but it’s not until you see the reaction of the staff, the people behind the scenes and the people in the crowd that you really saw that it meant a hell of a lot to them,” said Anscombe.

“It’s been nice to return it with this, give them something to look forward to.

“It will be a fantastic occasion in Bilbao in a few weeks.  It’s a great place to go to play rugby, hopefully we’ll pack out a few planes and see what happens.

“Gloucester are a good side and have got a hell of a team on paper. Last year at Kingsholm, we were in the game after 50 minutes but fell away. They’ll present a big challenge but we’ll look at them in a couple of weeks.

“The beauty of finals footie is, when you get there, anything can happen. Pressure does funny things to people.

“When we get there, we’ll have nothing to lose. That’s the way we approached the semi final and we really wanted to land the first punch and not be afraid of playing.

“We’ll go out, try to win the game and if it’s not to be, we can live with that. We have to go out there, give it our best, and after all our hard work it’s what we deserve.”

“But we’ve got another big game next week. There’s no point talking too much about the final yet. We deserve to celebrate this win.”

A lot of the pre-match talk surrounded the intriguing back row and breakdown battle. The Cardiff Blues back row impressed throughout, with Ellis Jenkins claiming the man-of-the-match award.

Anscombe praised the performance of the pack, and is delighted to see the progress his side have made over the last three years.

Anscombe said: “It’s been three years in the making with this group. Not much has changed [within the squad] and we’re working hard for each other. We’ve got belief in our defence and we have to keep working hard and hopefully that will bring the results.

“We felt like the breakdown was a bit of a lottery, in the sense that both teams had good jackalers, so it was tough with the ball as well.

“The boys dug deep, and I have to take my hat off the our back row because they were outstanding.

"Our back row and our tight five made a hell of a lot of tackles and they deserve to enjoy this win and rest up.”