Wales will look to recover from their heart breaking World Cup defeat against South Africa on Sunday with a strong performance against Samoa this weekend
Warren Gatland’s men came to within inches of springing the upset of the tournament before the wily Springboks launched into action to claim a one point victory, but now they must turn their attention to dealing with the not inconsiderable threat of Samoa, a team that have caused the Welsh one or two World Cup headache’s in the past.
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Brian Lima was the man at the heart of the action as Samoa claimed a famous victory at Cardiff Arms Park in the 1991 tournament, while the Pacific Islanders were at it again in 1999 when thy produced a scintillating display to embarrass the hosts at the newly built Millennium Stadium.
Wales will want to banish these memories and avoid an unwanted hat trick of defeats, while looking for a trio of their own – if they win on Sunday it will be the first time they have beaten Samoa three times in a row.
Fuimaono Tafua’s side got their World Cup campaign off to a winning start, breezing past Namibia 49-12, scoring six tries in the process, and will hope to take that confidence into the showdown against Wales.
As with most Samoan teams over the years, Wales will have to be wary of their powerful running talents, as well as the speed they possess in the back line. Gatland may hope to exploit their flaws in the breakdown by utilising his world class back row, led by man of the match against South Africa and youngest ever Welsh World Cup captain, Sam Warburton.
The last meeting between the two sides came back in 2009 when Wales edged out their opponents 17-13 at the Millennium Stadium, but Samoa do have a decent record against the Welsh, claiming three wins overall – including the two World Cup upsets – in their seven meetings.
If their performance against South Africa is anything to go by Wales are made of sterner stuff these days and should see off the South Pacific threat and get their World Cup campaign underway with victory in the early hours on Sunday.