GARETH ANSCOMBE has broken Owen Farrell’s heart once on the big occasion — and he is determined to do it again.
The fly-halves clash today in the hottest Wales-England showdown for years.
Getty Images – Getty Gareth Anscombe is desperate to break Owen Farrell’s heart for a second time
AP:Associated Press Wales host England in Cardiff this afternoon knowing the winner will be in pole position for this year’s Six Nations
Both teams arrive in Cardiff unbeaten and scenting a possible Grand Slam.
And Anscombe will be hoping for the same result as when he and Farrell faced each other in the Junior World Cup final eight years ago.
Auckland-born Anscombe was playing for a New Zealand Under-20 team that included Beauden Barrett and Brodie Retallick, who both went on to be crowned World Player of the Year.
But the young Red Rose outfit also looked strong, with Farrell, George Ford, Eliot Daly, Mako Vunipola and Joe Launchbury in their ranks.
PA:Press Association Anscombe was born in New Zealand and played for the Baby Blacks before switching allegiance to Wales
Anscombe’s goal-kicking proved the difference in a 33-22 win for the Baby Blacks — and he will be first-choice kicker today after getting the nod at No 10 ahead of Dan Biggar.
Both teams scored three tries in that junior final, but Anscombe kicked seven out of seven for an 18-point haul, while Ford landed just three of his six shots at goal.
Anscombe said: “That was a fair few years ago now but you look back and it’s freakish in terms of what players on both sides have gone on to accomplish.
“It was a pretty special year. And obviously, it was a nice day for me.
PA:Press Association Farrell was on the losing side in 2011 along with a number of his current international team-mates
“This one could be a bit special too, although in terms of pressure and prestige, I imagine it is going to be a lot different now to how it was back then.”
Anscombe, 27, learned his craft in New Zealand but he offers no apologies for switching allegiance to Wales. He is not alone in that respect — Brad Shields, on the England bench today, was also part of the New Zealand Under-20 team.
Anscombe was frequently reminded about his Welsh heritage by his mother and her parents, who were from Cardiff.
He said: “I knew I was Welsh growing up. It wasn’t like I found out five years ago that I could come here.
Getty Images – Getty Anscombe and Brad Shields were international team-mates eight years ago but are now on opposite sides
“My mother is really proud that I get to pull on a red jersey and although both her parents aren’t with us any more, they let me know about my Welsh heritage.
“I had a New Zealand jersey cut in half and sewn together with a Welsh jersey and I used to wear that as a little kid.
“Mum is back in New Zealand — they were over here for Christmas — so unfortunately they won’t be at the match. But they will set an alarm nice and early.”
This is not Anscombe’s first Wales-England clash.
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He was at full-back for last season’s controversial match at Twickenham when the Cardiff Blues ace was at the centre of a row over whether Wales should have been awarded a try.
He raced through to get the first touch on a Biggar grubber kick, only for the TMO to rule he did not ground the ball properly.
Was it a try? Anscombe does not hesitate: “Yes, absolutely.”
Wales were trailing 12-0 at the time, and eventually pulled it back to 12-6, so that try could have turned the match.
No wonder adopted Dragon Anscombe is ready to breathe fire on the English.