I’m Devastated by Our World Cup loss . . . but There are Bright Days Ahead

By Sportin Wales Co Founder and Wales Rugby Union Player GARETH ANSCOMBE

Life goes on, but I’ll admit here and now I was devastated to go out of the World Cup at the quarter-final stage.


That feeling was there for every Wales player out in France.


Losing to Argentina was a big, huge, missed opportunity. We knew it at the time, and we’ll all be feeling it for a while.


Had we made the semi-finals, it would have felt like a positive reflection of our efforts out in France. But to go out at the first knockout stage – especially to those opponents – felt an under-achievement.


No disrespect to the Pumas, they’re a decent team. But when you looked at the qualities of some of the teams we could have been playing in the last eight, you realise it was a chance that needed seizing.


I missed the match because I wasn’t fit after suffering a groin injury. It would have been touch-and-go to make the semi-final for me, but I felt my rehab was progressing.


So, that makes the defeat even more disappointing and frustrating.


My wife is pretty good at guiding me towards a positive outlook and so I have to look at the tournament as a whole and what I feel I achieved, personally.


That emphatic victory over Australia in the key pool game will always be memorable for me, a match I’ll always be proud of.


Walking around afterwards, sharing that moment with the fans and my kids, was pretty special. I’ll never forget it.


To be there in that euphoria, and experience it with my daughter and my son in my arms, was incredible.


If I had to pick one moment on the field to savour, it would probably be my chip kick to create the try for Nick Tompkins. It was a play that worked perfectly.


It also felt like the decisive blow against the Aussies at the time, when we had fully burst their bubble.


There was also another lovely family moment before the Georgia game, when I did a sit-down interview with S4C.


I was asked to do it at short notice the night before and I’ll admit I got a little grumpy with our media manager, Verity.


What I didn’t know was that it had been set up so my wife and kids could come in and surprise me. I had to give Verity a big hug of apology after that one.


It means a lot to every player when they can experience those special family moments. Our partners and children make sacrifices, so it’s right they should be able to share those memories.


But within a couple of days after losing to Argentina, we were back home and you’re left wondering: how did that happen?


Those are things all sports people find tough – the times when you put everything into an objective and it doesn’t work out.


These are the lows to go with the highs, and it can be a difficult thing to then pick up the threads with the regular week-by-week matches.


It will take every player time to adjust from the high of the Rugby World Cup, to going back into regional rugby. What’s fortunate for me is that I’ve now got something new and exciting to look forward to – my spell playing in Japan that is just about to begin.


I’ll be heading out there around the start of November, with the idea that I meet up with my new Tokyo Suntory Sungoliath teammates on November 6.


I aim to play some pre-season games and then be ready for the first match, which just happens to be against Liam Williams’ new team – Kubota Spears – on December 10.


Hopefully, I can the get ball out early to Cheslin Kolbe on the wing and he can do some damage against Liam’s team.


I won’t be available for the Six Nations this season, but as I’ve said before, I’m certainly not retiring from international rugby.


I’ve had initial conversations with Warren Gatland about my availability for the summer tour to Australia and we’ll see how that pans out.


But for the immediate future, with Dan Biggar retiring from Test rugby that means there is a Wales No.10 shirt up for grabs in the Six Nations in a few weeks’ time.

Sam Costello has shown a little bit of the huge potential he has, and I think it’s going to now do him the world of good to get a few Tests in the jersey.

He still has a lot to learn, but he’s a good kid with a good head on his shoulders and there are others who can come forward to challenge him.

The future’s bright. . . bright red.