Planet Rugby

Preview: Wales v Samoa

16th September 2011 14:51

Share:

Samoa celebrate World Cup win over Wales in 1999

Samoa: Repeat of 1999?

Warren Gatland will arrive in his home town of Hamilton this Sunday as his Welsh charges look to get back on the 2011 World Cup horse against Samoa.

How they must have struggled to shake off that loss to the Boks, and their difficult task shows no sign of abating as the in-form Samoans arrive, particularly after coming unstuck both times they have met the islanders in the global tournament, losing 16-13 in 1991 and 38-31 eight years later.

Should they crumble to Samoa in Waikato, then their hopes of running out for the 2011 knockout stages will have tired to the point of exhaustion.

"We are all very aware that we must go out and match the performance from last weekend," Gatland explained to Press Association Sport.

"We must win on Sunday, that is the bottom line. There are no second chances after Sunday, it's that important to us."

There were a great deal of positives for Wales to take from that narrow defeat to South Africa, of that there is no doubt. Sam Warburton, Toby Faletau, Jamie Roberts and Rhys Priestland were four of their top performers and the quartet will need to be of that same standard against a nation who thoroughly enjoys playing Wales.

"I don't think the players are taking notice of what has happened in the past," added captain Warburton when asked about previous World Cup meetings with Samoa.

"It's all irrelevant. The squad is a lot different now. They have some big ball-carriers, so we know it is going to be a big physical challenge."

That is what Wales should rightly expect from their opponents who, unlike the Springboks, might shoot up in the defensive line in umbrella-like fashion in an attempt to force the mistake. It is also worth mentioning that in-form British & Irish Lions centre Roberts may not have the same bulldozing joy he had against the turnstile that was Morne Steyn.

Standing in his way will be Tusi Pisi - if he comes through the warm-up unscathed. Pisi is a sound organiser and with Kahn Fotuali'i and Seilala Mapusua either side, Samoa are blessed with reassuring and experienced playmakers. Wider out the scoring form of Alesana Tuilagi will also be a threat of note. Welsh Ospreys will know all about him.

Wales know they are set for a scrap in what's shaping up to be one the toughest Pools in recent World Cups. Also bear in mind this is a 'home' game for Samoa. First major upset?

Players to watch:

For Wales: Samoa may look to unsettle the Welsh half-backs with their physical approach so Mike Phillips must keep his cool at the base. One player who looked like he was playing in his 50th Test last week was young ten Rhys Priestland. But can he back it up this week?

For Samoa: He scored three tries in their opening win against Namibia, so Alesana Tuilagi has to be one to watch out for both Wales and the neutral. Meanwhile, Paul Williams is another to follow as the former Sale man very seldom makes mistakes at the back.

Head-to-head: Two star players from their respective opening fixtures go toe-to-toe on Sunday as Toby Faletau and George Stowers line-up in Waikato. Both are strong carriers and will be looking to get their teams over the advantage line so keep an eye out for both men. Also catching the eye will be the clash between Jamie Roberts and Seilala Mapusua.

Previous results:

2009: Wales won 17-13 in Cardiff
2000: Wales won 50-6 in Cardiff
1999: Samoa won 38-31 in Cardiff
1994: Samoa won 34-9 in Moamoa
1991: Samoa won 16-13 in Cardiff
1988: Wales won 24-6 in Cardiff
1986: Wales won 32-14 in Apia

Prediction: Cannot wait for this game. Wales by 5!

The teams:

Wales: 15 James Hook, 14 George North, 13 Jonathan Davies, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 Shane Williams, 10 Rhys Priestland, 9 Mike Phillips, 8 Toby Faletau, 7 Sam Warburton (c), 6 Dan Lydiate, 5 Alun-Wyn Jones, 4 Luke Charteris, 3 Adam Jones, 2 Huw Bennett, 1 Paul James.
Replacements: 16 Lloyd Burns, 17 Gethin Jenkins, 18 Bradley Davies, 19 Andy Powell, 20 Tavis Knoyle, 21 Scott Williams, 22 Leigh Halfpenny.

Samoa: 15 Paul Williams, 14 Sailosi Tagicakibau, 13 George Pisi, 12 Seilala Mapusua, 11 Alesana Tuilagi, 10 Tusi Pisi, 9 Kahn Fotuali'i, 8 George Stowers, 7 Maurie Fa'asavalu, 6 Ofisa Treviranus, 5 Daniel Leo, 4 Kane Thompson, 3 Anthony Perenise, 2 Mahonri Schwalger (c), 1 Sakaria Taulafo.
Replacements: 16 Ti'i Paulo, 17 Census Johnston, 18 Joe Tekori, 19 Taiasina Tuifu'a, 20 Junior Poluleuligaga, 21 Eliota Fuimaono Sapolu, 22 Tasesa Lavea.

Date: Sunday, September 18
Venue: Waikato Stadium, Hamilton
Kick-off: 15.30 (03.30 GMT)
Referee: Alain Rolland (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Romain Poite (France), Jérôme Garces (France)
TMO: Giulio De Santis (Italy)

By Adam Kyriacou

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Friday , October 3
Bath vs Saracens19:45
Saturday , October 4
London Irish vs Northampton15:00
Harlequins vs London Welsh15:00
Gloucester vs Leicester15:15
Sunday , October 5
Sale vs Wasps14:00
Newcastle vs Exeter15:00
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
Rugby Championship
Saturday , October 4
South Africa vs New Zealand16:05
Argentina vs Australia23:40
More Rugby Championship fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Friday , October 3
Connacht vs Cardiff Blues19:35
Ulster vs Edinburgh19:35
Zebre vs Ospreys19:35
Saturday , October 4
Leinster vs Munster18:30
Sunday , October 5
Benetton Treviso vs Glasgow14:00
Scarlets vs Newport Gwent D'gons16:00
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
Top 14
Friday , October 3
Oyonnax vs Toulon20:45
Saturday , October 4
Bordeaux-Begles vs Clermont Auvergne14:45
Racing Metro Paris vs Brive18:30
Bayonne vs Montpellier18:30
La Rochelle vs Lyon18:30
Castres vs Grenoble18:30
Toulouse vs Stade Francais20:45
More Top 14 fixtures
Currie Cup
Friday , October 3
Pumas vs Blue Bulls15:00
Sharks vs Lions19:10
Saturday , October 4
Cheetahs vs Western Province14:00
Griquas vs Eastern Province Kings15:00
More Currie Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , September 28
Wasps 35 - 18 NewcastleWasps vs Newcastle Report
Exeter 36 - 13 HarlequinsExeter vs Harlequins Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Guinness PRO12
Newport Gwent D'gons 33 - 15 Benetton TrevisoNewport Gwent D
More Guinness PRO12 results
ITM Cup
Tasman 32 - 24 OtagoTasman vs Otago Report
Canterbury 26 - 28 SouthlandCanterbury vs Southland Report
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , September 27
Leicester 19 - 22 London IrishLeicester vs London Irish Report
Saracens 40 - 19 Sale SharksSaracens vs Sale Sharks Report
Northampton 31 - 24 BathNorthampton vs Bath Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Rugby Championship
South Africa 28 - 10 AustraliaSouth Africa vs Australia Report
Argentina 13 - 34 New ZealandArgentina vs New Zealand Report
More Rugby Championship results
Guinness PRO12
Zebre 13 - 6 UlsterZebre vs Ulster Report
Munster 14 - 19 OspreysMunster vs Ospreys Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Top 14
Toulon 40 - 17 MontpellierToulon vs Montpellier Report
Grenoble 27 - 25 Racing Metro ParisGrenoble vs Racing Metro Paris Report
Brive 34 - 24 Bordeaux-Begles
Oyonnax 8 - 19 Clermont Auvergne
Stade Francais 43 - 10 La Rochelle
Lyon 28 - 18 Castres
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Sharks 53 - 24 Eastern Province KingsSharks vs Eastern Province Kings Report
Griquas 8 - 46 LionsGriquas vs Lions Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Waikato 20 - 22 ManawatuWaikato vs Manawatu Report
North Harbour 28 - 25 Hawkes Bay
Counties Manukau 55 - 7 WellingtonCounties Manukau vs Wellington Report
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Friday , September 26
London Welsh 10 - 46 GloucesterLondon Welsh vs Gloucester Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Guinness PRO12
Leinster 37 - 23 Cardiff BluesLeinster vs Cardiff Blues Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Saracens418
2Northampton416
3Bath415
4Exeter414
5Wasps411