Anscombe takes over kicking duties against South Africa

Wales will thrust a goal-kicking spotlight on Gareth Anscombe in Saturday's Under Armour Series clash against South Africa.

An in-form Anscombe has retained the number 10 shirt he wore in Wales' victory over Australia earlier this month.

But he also takes on the goal-kicking responsibility from full-back Leigh Halfpenny, who misses the Springboks game after suffering concussion against Australia.

"We spoke as coaches when we selected the side that this is a big game, and there will be pressure on Gareth in terms of the goal-kicking," Wales head coach Warren Gatland said.

"He has been kicking well this year. His percentages have been good, but we all know it is more difficult under pressure in a big game, but that is part of the reason for picking him as well.

"We want to find out pretty early whether someone like Gareth - his game-management has been good at this stage - when it really matters as regards goals he should kick in a big match, that is important.

"He is starting to show some real maturity, and we have been really pleased with him.

"We have got three 10s (Anscombe, Dan Biggar and Rhys Patchell) who we think are on top of their games, and we could easily pick any one of the three of them."

Victory for Wales this weekend would make it nine in a row against all opponents - a longest winning run since 1999 - at the end of an autumn campaign for the home nations so far highlighted by Ireland beating New Zealand, Wales toppling Australia and England defeating South Africa.

For Gatland, New Zealand "are still the best team in the world," but he is enthused by this month's results less than a year out from the World Cup.

He added: "I think over the last few years there has definitely been, you would like to think, the gap of the southern hemisphere dominance has closed.

"It is great for rugby and great for the World Cup.

"You see the All Blacks lose one or two games, and the people who have turned on them is quite incredible. I look at that aghast. To me, they are still the best team in the world.

"There could easily have been more northern hemisphere success in this autumn campaign.

"France were very unlucky against South Africa, leading with 79 minutes on the clock and having a scrum in the South African 22; Scotland had a good performance (against South Africa) last week and England were 15-0 up against the All Blacks.

"There is pressure on us to go out and perform on Saturday. I think it is absolutely brilliant for rugby that we have got eight or nine teams who, if they perform well on the day, are capable of beating anybody.

"We are in a good place at the moment, we are just trying to keep our heads down, try not to say too much and just get on with our business. If we keep going under the radar, that will be good.

"We're not worried at all what anyone else is saying about us, or thinking.

"I just see the effort players are putting in, on and off the field, and I keep saying that we are in a really good place with the depth we are creating and we are pretty confident we can have a good 12 months."

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