GARETH ANSCOMBE was not a happy camper after his team’s defeat to Glasgow Warriors yesterday afternoon, and not just because the result blows a huge hole in Cardiff Blues’ ambitions of pushing for a place in the quarter-finals of the European Heineken Champions Cup this season.
The New Zealand born playmaker was furious that his team’s grey and sky-blue kit clashed with the sky-blue and white kit of the opposition, and even hinted that this was a factor in his team’s lacklustre start to the match which saw them lose two tries in the first four minutes.
“I don’t know whose job is to decide that, but he’s got to face consequences for that because that was a disgrace – an out-and-out disgrace,” blasted Anscombe. “Rugby is a hard enough game let alone that. I have never come across that in my eight years of playing [professional] rugby.”
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“I caught a couple of high balls and in that sun, in a split second, it was tough to differentiate your team-mates – it’s a joke. We told the ref and the touchies early on and they told us it was down to the home team to change jerseys – but I don’t think that’s fair – it’s our home court – Glasgow should have been wearing a white jersey.
“I hope the guy who made that decision – just like players and refs – is held accountable. That wasn’t good enough. It was piss poor. EPCR need to hold their hands up here for that.”
The directive on which club strip each team was to wear was communicated to the clubs two weeks ago by tournament organisers EPCR, and both sides were entitled to ask for a change – but it seems that neither team anticipated this issue arising.
“It has annoyed me because we didn’t start well in the first 10 to 15 minutes … but that played a part in that. I really felt like we made some poor decisions – don’t get me wrong, we’ve got to give some credit to Glasgow – but how in this day and age that is happening is bewildering to me.
“Give the guys some help here – one team in white and one team in blue – it’s not hard. In the second half when it got darker it was easier to see, but that’s a bit of sideshow if you ask me.
“All I hope is that the guy who made this sort of decision pays some sort of price, because we do as players, refs do as well – he’s got to be held accountable, it’s the same thing. They’ll probably issue an apology, they always do, but it doesn’t change anything now.
“It doesn’t change the way we played. Glasgow were too good for us. But its professional rugby, what are we doing?”
Anscombe started at full-back but moved to his preferred position of stand-off just before the hour mark, which seemed to spark a mini-revival in the home team’s fortunes during the last quarter. The 27-year-old will join up with the Wales squad this week and is a good bet to be wearing the red number ten jersey against Scotland on 3rd November, but is concerned that he is not playing regularly enough in that position at club level.
“It is frustrating,” he said. “From a selfish point of view, I need a little bit more consistency of where I am going to play. I’m going to go into the Welsh camp now and they are probably going to talk to me about playing stand-off. I’ll do whatever is asked of me, but there are times when I would like a little bit more consistency in where I play.
Warriors coach Dave Rennie was also unimpressed with strip clash but didn’t feel it was a decisive factor in the match.
“I spoke to our manager at half-time because from a counter-attacking point of view, Tommy Seymour is running the ball back and he’s not sure where the holes are,” he said.
“Evidently, the gear gets sent in and they looked at our colours, they looked at our away colours, they looked at their colours and they said it wasn’t a clash. I’d have been more than happy to bring our black kit along.
“Anyway, I’m not sure if it had a massive effect on the game.”
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