‘It’s one of the biggest blows of my life’: Gareth Anscombe reflects on his historic conversion to give Wales first ever win in South Africa… as he admits he took ‘a lot of sacrifices’ – including missing his son birth!

  • Gareth Anscombe’s late conversion gave Wales victory over South Africa
  • Anscombe’s late strike sealed Wales’ first ever win on South African soil
  • He is pleased that his sacrifices are paying off after he missed the birth of his son
  • He also managed to recover from a serious knee injury suffered in 2019

Bloemfontein 9 July 2022 A day and a game that has now taken its place not just in the Welsh rugby history books but in the heart of Gareth Anscombe.

It was the day Anscombe returned to his rightful stage after two years of injury hell. Make no mistake, this was one of Wales’ best ever wins. It was the first win against South Africa on South African soil. No other Welsh side can say they have achieved this feat.

For all his remarkable success with Wales, winning away from the southern hemisphere’s big three was a code Warren Gatland could not crack. Against all odds, his successor Wayne Pivak now checked this box.

Gareth Anscombe held his nerve to seal Wales’ first win in South Africa on Saturday

The replacement fly-half was delighted to create history for his country in Bloemfontein

The replacement fly-half was delighted to create history for his country in Bloemfontein

Anscombe was a man to enjoy, his conversion of Josh Adams’ late try on the touchline sealing a 13-12 win at Free State Stadium.

Frankly, it’s a miracle Anscombe can still run, let alone win a Test match like this.

After seriously injuring his knee ligaments in 2019, he had to undergo a procedure in which his tibia was deliberately broken to fix his leg.

A bone graft from a dead man was inserted into his knee and it was with that right leg that Anscombe sent Wales fans into ecstasy. “It’s one of the biggest hits of my life,” Anscombe said.

His conversion of Josh Adams' last-gasp try on the touchline sealed a 13-12 win at the Free State Stadium

His conversion of Josh Adams’ last-gasp try on the touchline sealed a 13-12 win at the Free State Stadium

As if his story wasn’t good enough, he arrived late in South Africa for Wales’ three-match series and missed the birth of his second child, Theo.

“I’ve sacrificed a lot in my life, been through a lot and missed the birth of my son,” Anscombe reflected. “I missed something special. It will be nice to show it to him in 10 years and say, “That’s why dad missed it.” I hope he will understand.”

In Saturday’s decider in Cape Town, Wales will be looking to win the series, which is 1-1.

Anscombe replaces Dan Biggar, who spoke of his pride in winning in South Africa

Anscombe replaces Dan Biggar, who spoke of his pride in winning in South Africa

“I couldn’t be prouder as a Welshman,” said Wales captain Dan Biggar, whose injury meant Anscombe came off the bench to score.

“Professional sports are so tough. When you lose, those losses tend to last for months and months. “There were some very, very good teams from Wales that came here and they were sent to collect.”

This time South Africa was rejected. They will surely come again, but Wales has come alive. The series win, surprisingly, is within their reach.

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