Preview: Scotland v Samoa

Date published: November 27 2010

Scotland face Samoa in Aberdeen on Saturday, where the hosts will be targeting back to back victories and a fifth win in six Tests.

Scotland face Samoa in Aberdeen on Saturday, where the hosts will be targeting back to back victories and a fifth win in six Tests.

Wins over Australia, Ireland, Argentina (twice) and South Africa in little more than a year have ignited belief in the Scotland camp, especially after shocking the world champions by recording a 21-17 victory at Murrayfield last week.

Now, at a different venue and against entirely different opposition this weekend, the confident Scots face another stern challenge in their third and final November international outing as the Islanders seek to improve on narrow losses to Ireland and England.

Samoa have shown plenty of heart and endeavour in their narrow defeats this month and will no doubt back themselves going one step further and record a win in Aberdeen.

However, the tourists received a hostile welcome from the Scottish weather in the Granite City where some members of the Pacific islanders' squad saw snow for the first time. Though Samoa are aiming to make light of the inclement conditions and are keen to end their tour on a high.

“We could and should have beaten England last week – and I am confident we can get the result we want at Aberdeen,” said London Irish centre Seilala Mapusua, who will once again line up in the midfield for Samoa this weekend.

“Twickenham was an opportunity lost and we are all very frustrated.

“We knew England were worried about us when their fans sang Sweet Chariot to drown out our war dance before the kick-off. That was a mark of respect for us and the threat we posed.

“It was the first time I had ever felt they respected us as a team.”

Samoa, well known for the physical challenge they present, demonstrated their ability in tight losses over the past fortnight and pose a real threat to the home side.

It's important that Scotland coach Andy Robinson keeps his squad grounded, and has expressed his priority to move on from last Saturday's win over South Africa in order to record another triumph at Pittodrie.

“It means starting again,” said Robinson.

“We've got to get rid of the South African performance and, like we did the week before, learn the lessons of how we can improve and then focus on what we've got to do to beat Samoa.

“It's always important to focus on the next game and international rugby is about winning.”

Scotland's 49-3 drubbing to the All Blacks was lost midway through the first half and Robinson's side played an expansive game seeking to puncture the tourists' defence. They succeeded in crossing the gain-line on a number of occasions, but were unable to touch down for tries.

Against the Springboks, wet conditions dictated a tight game, decided by the boot of fly-half Dan Parks, who kicked six penalties and a drop goal. With much of the same conditions expected again on Saturday, Scotland will need a repeat of last week's effort and avoid running – literally – into the same trap as Wales did against Fiji.

Samoa have never beaten Scotland in six previous matches between the countries, with their best result a 15-15 draw at Murrayfield in 1995.

Ones to watch:

For Scotland: Prop Allan Jacobsen – better known in rugby circles as 'Chunk' – was outstanding in last weekend's stunning triumph over world champions South Africa. His team-mates will want more of the same against the physical Samoans as the Edinburgh strongman sets out to put his big frame to good use.

For Samoa: Full-back Paul Williams was in fine fettle against England last weekend – contributing a try and a penalty to boot. With slippery conditions expected, it will be up to the forwards – led by the returning front-rower Census Johnston – if they have any chance of stamping their authority in this match.

Head to head: The focus will be on how the packs maneuver themselves around the wet pitch underfoot, but they'll be lost without the direction of their scrum-halves Rory Lawson and Kahn Fotualii who have both impressed thus far for their respective teams.

Previous results:
2005: Scotland won 18-11 at Murrayfield, Edinburgh
2004: Scotland won 38-3 at Westpac Trust, Wellington
2000: Scotland won 31-8 at Murrayfield, Edinburgh
1999: Scotland won 35-20 at Murrayfield, Edinburgh
1995: Test was drawn 15-15 at Murrayfield, Edinburgh
1991: Scotland won 28-6 at Murrayfield, Edinburgh

Prediction: Complacency is the only danger standing in Scotland's way as they found out against Argentina last year after beating the Wallabies. Still, we feel the hosts should see this one through but expect another fierce fight from the Samoans. Scotland to win by nine points.

The teams:

Scotland: 15 Hugo Southwell, 14 Nikki Walker, 13 Joe Ansbro, 12 Graeme Morrison, 11 Sean Lamont, 10 Dan Parks, 9 Rory Lawson (c), 8 Richie Vernon, 7 John Barclay, 6 Kelly Brown, 5 Richie Gray, 4 Nathan Hines, 3 Euan Murray, 2 Ross Ford, 1 Allan Jacobsen.
Replacements: 16 Dougie Hall, 17 Moray Low, 18 Jim Hamilton, 19 Ross Rennie, 20 Mike Blair, 21 Ruaridh Jackson, 22 Max Evans.

Samoa: 15 Paul Williams, 14 David Lemi, 13 George Pisi, 12 Seilala Mapusua, 11 Alesana Tuilagi, 10 Tasesa Lavea, 9 Kahn Fotualii, 8 George Stowers, 7 Manaia Salavea, 6 Ofisa Trevarinus, 5 Kane Thompsen, 4 Filipo Lavea Levi, 3 Census Johnston, 2 Mahonri Schwalger (c), 1 Sakaria Taulafo.
Replacements: 16 Ti'I Paulo, 17 Anthony Perenise, 18 Iosefa Tekori, 19 Afa Aiono, 20 Junior Poluleuligaga, 21 Daniel Leo, 22 Fautua Otto.

Date: Saturday, November 27
Kick-off: 14:30
Venue: Pittodrie, Aberdeen
Referee: Steve Walsh (Australia)
Assistant referees: Marius Jonker (South Africa), Cobus Wessels (South Africa)
Television match official: Tony Redmond (Ireland)