Garth Anscombe wins the Cup for Cardiff Blues. Pic: Getty Images.

Gareth Anscombe Says His Miss Gave Him The Determination For Last Ditch Cup Glory

Gareth Anscombe revealed patience, perseverance and pinpoint accuracy enabled him to win the European Challenge Cup for Cardiff Blues.

The Wales star – who was denied a match-winning role with a disputed try attempt against England at Twickenham in the Six Nations – showed nerves of steel to land a penalty kick that snatched a thrilling 31-30 victory over Gloucester in Bilbao.

It meant the perfect send-off for departing head coach Danny Wilson, who is joining Wasps as forwards coach this summer.

Anscombe missed a touchline conversion minutes before landing his ice-cool penalty and said: “It’s a funny one. I suppose I was really disappointed missing that conversion. It didn’t go where I wanted it to.

“Then, off the kick-off, all the boys were still positive about playing and having a crack.

“We reacted really well and had a cross-kick, and Garyn Smith did really well to set up another shot.

“I guess I was pretty lucky to be given it because the team deserved the chance to win it.

“I just tried to clear my mind and stick to my routine. I let the crowd tell me if it went over and I was lucky and thankful when I picked up the tee that it went where it was supposed to go.

“I can’t believe it to be honest. We came in at half-time and we were just so disappointed with our efforts.

“We just weren’t firing any shots and we just tried to relax a little bit.

Cardiff Blues coach Danny Wilson. Pic: Getty Images.

“Obviously we scored early which took a bit of pressure off and the character of the boys showed as we stayed in the fight even when it didn’t look likely.”

Wilson said: “It’s a fantastic feeling. For this group over a three-year period to go through the ups and downs we’ve gone through and to finish it off in the style we have to win some silverware is fantastic and something I’ll always remember.

“We just didn’t look like ourselves first half – as we said then, we didn’t fire any shots.

“We weren’t defending or attacking like us so we decided to play from deeper. That paid off and defensively we made lower tackles to get our jacklers in the game.”

Gloucester captain Ed Slater said: “Fair play to Cardiff. I still thought it was in our hands. To lose like that is hard to take. We probably didn’t front up as well as we should have. We’re all dejected.

“I thought the way we started Cardiff struggled to deal with our physicality. They sped things up. We dropped off too many tackles in the second half.

“A learning curve for me and the team. We have to deal with momentum swings better. You’ve got to give Cardiff credit because they could have folded.”

John Mulvihill will take charge of the Cardiff Blues next season. Pic: Getty Images.

In a game in which the lead changed hands five times, first half tries from wing Henry Trinder and inside-centre Mark Atkinson – combined with the metronomic boot of Billy Twelvetrees looked set to hand Johan Ackermann’s charges a comfortable victory and record-equalling third Challenge Cup title.

But a superb second-half Blues fightback saw tries from Tomos Williams and Garyn Smith, plus the boot of Jarrod Evans force the PRO14 outfit into the lead.

Even then, a maul try from hooker James Hanson restored Gloucester’s lead near the hour mark and with the Cherry & Whites pack displaying dominance at the set-piece thereafter, the Blues looked as if they would not be able to produce a second thrilling comeback.

A critical late Lewis Ludlow sin-binning was followed by a Blaine Scully try for the Blues with four minutes left, but when Anscombe missed the conversion from the touchline the chance looked to have gone.

That was until replacement back Smith earned a breakdown penalty after an Anscombe hack downfield in the dying minutes, and this time the full-back made no mistake from the tee from out wide to cue jubilant scenes in the San Mames Stadium.

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