Challenge Cup final: Departing Blues boss Danny Wilson pays tribute to 'phenomenal' Gareth Anscombe

Gareth Anscombe, right, kicked the winning penalty in Bilbao as the Blues came from 14 points down to win their second Challenge Cup. David Rogers/Getty Images

Outgoing Cardiff Blues head coach Danny Wilson hailed Gareth Anscombe as "phenomenal" after his late penalty secured a thrilling 31-30 win against Gloucester in the European Challenge Cup final in Bilbao.

Having missed a levelling conversion from the opposite touchline just two minutes earlier, Anscombe was coolness personified in front of the 32,543 crowd at San Mames Stadium as he kicked Cardiff to their second Challenge Cup title in eight years.

Wilson, who is leaving to take up an assistant coach position with Wasps, felt the praise belonged with his players after the victory.

"I have to praise Gareth for his quality kicks out of hand and obviously the winning kick from the touchline in front of that crowd in a European final, I just think it is phenomenal and shows the quality of player that he is," Wilson said.

"It's great [to finish with a European trophy] but it's not about me, it's about this group. This group have gelled unbelievably over a three-year period. It's been a real roller-coaster.

"We all had one objective this season and we still felt we could achieve it, even though we had some real downers at the start of the season both on and off the field.

"We thought that we could come together and still achieve something. And it's a credit to the group from my point of view.

"To leave this group of players is tough, and emotionally it's tough because I've got some great relationships with them. It's fitting that they've got the rewards that they've worked 110 per cent to fully deserve."

The Blues were teetering on the brink when trailing 20-6 at half-time, with Henry Trinder and Mark Atkinson crossing for Gloucester and the Welsh region losing Josh Navidi and Owen Lane to injury.

However, the 2010 champions stormed back with tries from Tomos Williams and Garyn Smith in a rousing 13-point surge, including Jarrod Evans' third successful penalty.

James Hanson's maul try and Billy Twelvetrees' continued accuracy off the tee -- he finished with 15 points -- gave Gloucester a 30-23 lead, but it was not enough as Lewis Ludlow's yellow card was followed by Scully's try and fullback Anscombe's all-important kick.

Matchwinner Anscombe said: "I was really disappointed to miss the first conversion. We reacted really well.

"I just tried to clear my head and stick to my routine, and sort of let the crowd tell me if it went over. I was just really lucky and thankful when I picked up the tee that it went where it was supposed to go."

It was more European heartbreak for Gloucester just 12 months on from a final defeat to Stade Francais.

Their South African coach Johan Ackermann refused to be drawn on a deleted post-match tweet from the official Gloucester Twitter account which criticised referee Jerome Garces' decision to award the late Cardiff penalty.

Ackermann said: "That is sport, sometimes decisions go against you. That's emotions speaking, we're all emotional if we lose. Somebody had to lose tonight.

"There's always decisions. Even the last decision I could argue that it was a ruck, Cardiff should have released the ball, our cleaner was there. Why the penalty? Why not a scrum?

"I'm not going to sleep well tonight, I'm probably not going to sleep well for the next seven, eight nights because it's the third final in a row that I've lost. Sometimes things will go for us, sometimes things will not."