Wales star Liam Williams, seen here scoring against Tonga last weekend, will replace Leigh Halfpenny at fullback for the clash against the Springboks. Photo: Mike Egerton/PA via AP

CARDIFF – Coach Warren Gatland has stuck with Gareth Anscombe at flyhalf for a Wales team bidding for a ninth consecutive victory when they take on South Africa on Saturday.

The Welsh squad, which will don rainbow laces in support of former captain Gareth Thomas after he was the victim of a homophobic attack earlier in the week, shows just one injury-enforced change from the one that edged Australia 9-6 a fortnight ago.

Saracens back Liam Williams, who scored a brace of tries from the wing as he won his 50th cap in the 74-24 victory over Tonga last weekend, comes in at fullback in place of Leigh Halfpenny.

Halfpenny suffered concussion after a late shot by Wallaby centre Samu Kerevi, an action that went unpunished.

Gatland made 14 changes for the victory over Tonga, but has reverted to the side that defeated the Wallabies.

Williams lines up in the backline alongside fellow British and Irish Lion George North and Josh Adams.

Scarlets duo Hadleigh Parkes and Jonathan Davies are named in midfield, with Gareth Davies and Anscombe continuing their partnership at halfback.

In the pack Nicky Smith, Ken Owens and Tomas Francis are again named in the front row, with Adam Beard, unbeaten in a Wales jersey, lining up alongside captain Alun Wyn Jones.

Dan Lydiate, Justin Tipuric and Ross Moriarty pack down in the back-row for a third time together this autumn.

“We have rewarded the team that faced Australia with another start this weekend,” said Gatland.

“Leigh (Halfpenny) misses out with concussion, but it’s a great opportunity for Liam (Williams) at fullback.

“We are really pleased with how the bench has gone in the first three games, so we will be looking for that impact again on Saturday.”

Gatland admitted that picking the team had been tough, notably given the sterling shows flyhalves Dan Biggar and Rhys Patchell produced against Tonga.

“There were a lot of tough selection calls, but that is what we want. The team that played last week was hugely impressive, and there are some disappointed boys who miss out,” the Kiwi said.

“We want to end the campaign with a big performance against a very good South African side.”

Elliot Dee, Rob Evans and Dillon Lewis provide the front-row cover on the bench, with Cory Hill and Ellis Jenkins completing the forwards. Tomos Williams, Dan Biggar and Owen Watkin provide the backline cover.

Wales are looking to complete a first sweep of autumn Test victories after opening up with a 21-10 win over Scotland.

They are also chasing a ninth successive win against all opponents, which would equal their longest unbeaten run since 1999.

South Africa touch down in Cardiff on the back of a 26-20 victory over the Scots, following an injury-time 29-26 win over France and 12-11 defeat by England.

Wales Team

Liam Williams, George North, Jonathan Davies, Hadleigh Parkes, Josh Adams, Gareth Anscombe, Gareth Davies, Ross Moriarty, Justin Tipuric, Dan Lydiate, Alun Wyn Jones (captain), Adam Beard, Tomas Francis, Ken Owens, Nicky Smith.

Bench: Elliot Dee, Rob Evans, Dillon Lewis, Cory Hill, Ellis Jenkins, Tomos Williams, Dan Biggar, Owen Watkin.

AFP