Cardiff Blues snatch Challenge Cup

Gareth Anscombe’s last-minute penalty goal gave the Cardiff Blues a dramatic 31-30 win against Gloucester in the European Challenge Cup final in Bilbao on Friday.

Johan Ackermann’s Gloucester team led 20-6 at half-time thanks to tries to left wing Henry Trinder and inside centre Mark Atkinson.

But the Blues fought back well in the second half, with scrumhalf Tomos Williams and replacement centre Garyn Smith putting them ahead 23-20 after 56 minutes.

Gloucester responded with their third try, through hooker James Hanson, with midfielder Billy Twelvetrees kicking the conversion and then adding a penalty to make it 30-23.

But Cardiff would finish with a flourish, with left wing Blaine Scully scoring a 76th-minute try while Gloucester flank Lewis Ludlow was in the sin bin.

Anscombe’s conversion went wide, but the fullback made amends with a last-minute penalty that snatched victory.

Cardiff Blues – Tries: Tomos Williams, Garyn Smith, Blaine Scully. Conversions: Jarrod Evans (2). Penalties: Evans (3), Gareth Anscombe.
Gloucester – Tries: Henry Trinder, Mark Atkinson, James Hanson. Conversions:  Billy Twelvetrees (3). Penalties: Twelvetrees (3).

Cardiff Blues – 15 Gareth Anscombe, 14 Owen Lane, 13 Rey Lee-Lo, 12 Willis Halaholo, 11 Blaine Scully, 10 Jarrod Evans, 9 Tomos Williams, 8 Nick Williams, 7 Ellis Jenkins (c), 6 Josh Navidi, 5 Josh Turnbull, 4 Seb Davies, 3 Taufa’ao Filise, 2 Kristian Dacey, 1 Rhys Gill.
Subs: 16 Kirby Myhill, 17 Brad Thyer, 18 Scott Andrews, 19 Damian Welch, 20 Olly Robinson, 21 Lloyd Williams, 22 Garyn Smith, 23 Matthew Morgan.

Gloucester – 15 Jason Woodward, 14 Tom Marshall, 13 Billy Twelvetrees, 12 Mark Atkinson, 11 Henry Trinder, 10 Billy Burns, 9 Callum Braley, 8 Ruan Ackermann, 7 Lewis Ludlow, 6 Jake Polledri, 5 Mariano Galarza, 4 Ed Slater (c), 3 John Afoa, 2 James Hanson, 1 Josh Hohneck.
Subs: 16 Motu Matu’u, 17 Val Rapava-Ruskin, 18 Fraser Balmain, 19 Freddie Clarke, 20 Ben Morgan, 21 Ben Vellacott, 22 Andy Symons, 23 Tom Hudson.

Photo: David Rogers/Getty Images