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Anscombe: Wales riding high from South Africa tour but wary of 'hungry' All Blacks

By PA
Gareth Anscombe of Wales celebrating their victory during the 2nd Castle Lager Incoming Series test match between South Africa and Wales at Toyota Stadium on July 09, 2022 in Bloemfontein, South Africa. (Photo by Charle Lombard/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

Gareth Anscombe says Wales will take belief from their historic achievement in South Africa this summer when they host New Zealand on Saturday.

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Fly-half Anscombe was Wales’ second Test match-winner, kicking a touchline conversion to beat the Springboks 13-12 in Bloemfontein.

It was Wales’ first victory over the Springboks in South Africa, and they now face a country undefeated against them for 69 years.

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The All Blacks have reeled off 32 successive victories since Wales claimed a 13-8 success in December 1953.

New Zealand-born Anscombe, whose mother is from Cardiff, will have a key role to play when Wales target a statement victory less than 12 months out from the World Cup.

“We addressed at the start when we got into camp about how we need to take a bit of confidence out of that (South Africa) series,” Anscombe said.

“We were still disappointed not to win the series, but we weren’t far off from winning that first Test.

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“We know if we play to our potential we can cause these top teams a lot of trouble.

“These autumn series, in my experience, we tend to get better as we go along, so we have got a real challenge to start with a bang.

“I think the All Blacks will be pretty fired up after that hit-out against Japan last week.

“We have got to play to our potential, and take a bit of belief from what we did in South Africa.”

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By their own high standards, New Zealand have experienced a testing year.

They won the Rugby Championship in September for an eighth time, but have lost to Ireland (twice), Argentina and South Africa in dropping from first to fourth in World Rugby’s official rankings.

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Anscombe added: “They have obviously had an indifferent year, but they are such a talented group.

“They have always got the next cab off the rank, and you look back to the Rugby Championship, they still won it again.

“They seem to win it most years and they score the most amount of tries. The All Blacks are so dangerous, if you switch off for two minutes they score two tries.

“We can’t afford to switch off, and they can come alive whenever. We have just got to be relentless in our pursuit of being accurate.

“I know there is a lot of chat and outside noise about them being vulnerable, but they still look pretty hungry to me, they still look pretty accurate and so dangerous.

“If anything, that tune-up against Japan (New Zealand won 38-31) has probably fired them up, probably got them a little angrier coming to Cardiff.

“We’ve got to go there on Saturday with some real belief that if we play to our potential we can go and get the job done.”

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