Gareth Anscombe is acutely aware that Wales must produce their best performance of the season to clinch a Guinness Six Nations Grand Slam at the Principality Stadium on Saturday.
The Cardiff Blues fly-half has usurped Dan Biggar as Wales’ first-choice 10 so far in the Championship, starting three of the four victories.
He is yet to lose an international in which he has pulled on the number 10 jersey but knows Wales must reach a new level to beat Ireland on Saturday.
The Cardiff Blues favourite said: “We set ourselves the goal of the Grand Slam at the start of the campaign after a successful autumn. We knew we were capable of getting to this point and we are desperate to finish it off seeing how much it means to people here.
“We will soak up the atmosphere, but it is important we do not get caught up in the occasion or the emotional side of things. We have to remember we are there to do a job and be clinical. It is trying to get that balance right, enjoying the start of the week and tuning in come Friday.”
Anscombe’s parents will be at the Principality Stadium after making a last-minute decision to jet over from New Zealand for the occasion.
The last time Wales competed for a Grand Slam, Anscombe was making his Super Rugby debut for the Blues alongside Hadleigh Parkes.
It is safe to say a huge amount has changed for the fly-half whose mother was born and raised in Fairwater, Cardiff and he is relishing the occasion.
“My dad rang me after the Scotland game when we were having a drink in the hotel and we were both thinking the same thing,” explained Anscombe.
Anscombe at the old National Stadium in Cardiff as a child
“They arrive Thursday. Everyone knows the importance of the game and how exciting it potentially is.
“I’ve got a couple of mates coming from London and suddenly you have a lot of friends coming out of nowhere.
“It will be a hugely exciting and challenging game and the two teams know the rewards at the end if they get it right.
“It would be pretty special if we get one this week. It’s crazy how much my rugby landscape has changed over the past four to six years.
“I think me and Hadleigh during that period (2012 Grand Slam) were making our debuts in Super Rugby over in South Africa.
“I am in a hugely privileged position, and I am enjoying my time here and being part of this group.
“For us to be where we are at, with 13 (record) wins in a row, it would be nice maybe to be able to look back one day and say you were part of that.
“For us to get the Grand Slam, it would be something that no-one can take away from you."