Samoa are favourites – Taylor

Date published: June 6 2013

Scotland defence coach Matt Taylor has claimed that Samoa are favourites for Saturday's game in Durban.

Scotland defence coach Matt Taylor has claimed that Samoa are favourites for Saturday's game in Durban.

Following a third-place finish in the Six Nations, Scott Johnson's side arrive in South Africa with only three players away on Lions duty and full of confidence.

However Samoa will present a stern Test, after stunning then Grand Slam champions Wales in Cardiff last November.

But despite Scotland having never been beaten by Samoa in a Test, Taylor is still cautious over the threat posed by the Pacific Islanders.

“It is not that long ago that they beat the Six Nations champions, Wales, and they probably should have beaten France, so they are a very good team,” said Taylor.

“We've had a good look at them and a lot of their patterns and moves are similar to those they use against the other Six Nations teams.

“I think we know what is coming, it is whether we are up to the challenge.

“Look at the IRB rankings where they are seventh and we are 10th, so in that respect we are the underdogs.

“They are a very, very good team and a proud rugby nation so we are going to have to be at our best to beat them.

“It is going to be very difficult, they are very good ball carriers, good rugby players.

“I have been lucky enough to see them up close and they are exceptional players and good ball carriers, so it is going to be difficult for us.

“[Tom Heathcote] will have a good challenge, I am sure they will try to target him – most teams do attack down the fly-half channel.

“He knows that and has worked hard with the defence coach at Bath on his technique – Mike Ford who was the England defence coach for many years – and he is really confident in his ability as a defender.

“He has worked hard in the Scotland environment as well. It will be a challenge, but one he is looking forward do, he is a good defender.”

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