Friday, November 13, 2009

Test Rugby: Samoa To Start the Pacific Island Onslaught

Samoa v Wales in Cardiff

Venue: Millennium Stadium

Referee: Peter Fitzgibbon (Ireland)

Samoa and Tonga begin the Island invasion of the British Isles with tests against Ireland 'A', for Tonga, and against Wales, for Samoa. Fiji jumps into the fray with a test against Scotland tomorrow. You can expect some huge tackles from the Islanders and Samoa will be there sizing up the opposition, especially the backs.

during the Rugby Union international match between South Africa and Samoa at Ellis Park on June 9, 2007 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Samoa could well lead the way in Europe this November. Image thanks to

There has been a colourful rugby history between Wales and Samoa. We can go back to 1991 when Wales had a dreadful World Cup campaign. It started with a loss to Samoa 13-16 and they never got to the finals. Who remembers that grand day in Cardiff back in 1999 when Samoa ripped the Welsh team and hearts open again at a World Cup tournament with that amazing 38-31 win in the final pool match? It wasn't enough to knock the Welsh out of the quarter-finals but it certainly knocked the wind out of them. Australia went on to defeat Wales 24-9 but the damage had already been done in the match against Samoa. Samoa tried to repeat the win a year later in Cardiff but lost 6-50. That's the last time these two teams faced each other.

Can Samoa pull off something special tomorrow? Well, I think there are a few things against this Samoan team defeating Wales. Firstly, there just isn't the same motivation and atmosphere for the Samoans that the World Cup provides. Also, I don't think the team is that strong.

Wales is a stronger side since the team of a decade ago but they have made a number of changes to the team that faced the All Blacks last weekend. They have the very experienced Dwayne Peel at scrum half. So whilst being a weaker combination, they do have the advantage of organisation. The Samoans have had only days to be prepared whilst Wales has been training for weeks.

Dwayne Peel
Dwayne Peels experience for Wales could be a huge factor in this game. Image thanks to

Previous Encounters
11.11.2000 Wales 50-6 in Cardiff
14.10.1999 Samoa 38-31 in Cardiff (World Cup, Pool D)
25.06.1994 Samoa 34-9 in Apia
06.10.1991 Samoa 16-13 in Cardiff (World Cup)
12.11.1988 Wales 24-6 in Cardiff

GWC Rugby Rankings: World Table-Wales 8th, Samoa 12th

Prediction: Wales by 15 points.


15 James Hook (Neath Swansea Ospreys) Age 24, 34 tests
14 Leigh Halfpenny (Cardiff Blues) 20, 7
13 Thomas Shanklin (Cardiff Blues) 29, 64
12 James Roberts (Cardiff Blues) 22, 13
11 Thomas James (Cardiff Blues) 22, 5
10 Daniel Biggar (Neath Swansea Ospreys) 20, 3
9 Dwayne Peel (sale Sharks, England) 28, 69
8 Ryan Jones, Capt. (Neath Swansea Ospreys) 28, 34
7 SamuelWarburton (Cardiff Blues) 21, 1
6 Andrew Powell (Cardiff Blues) 28, 9
5 Luke Charteris (Newport Gwent Dragons) 25, 15
4 Alun-Wyn Jones (Neath Swansea Ospreys) 24, 32
3 Paul James (Neath Swansea Ospreys) 25, 2
2 Huw Bennett (Neath Swansea Ospreys) 25, 24
1 Gethin Jenkins (Cardiff Blues) 28, 69
16 Matthew Rees (Llanelly Scarlets) 28, 31
17 Craig Mitchell (Neath Swansea Ospreys) 23, 2
18 Bradley Davies (Cardiff Blues) 22, 4
19 Jonathan Thomas (Neath Swansea Ospreys) 26, 47
20 Martin Roberts (Neath Swansea Ospreys) 23, 2
21 Jonathan Davies (Llanelly Scarlets) 21, 2
22 Morgan Stoddart (Llanelly Scarlets) 25, 3
Head Coach: Warren Gatland


15 Lolo Lui (Moata’a, Apia)
14 David Lemi (London Wasps, England)
13 Gavin Williams (Clermont-Ferrand, France)
12 Seilala Mapusua (London Irish, England)
11 Alesana Tuilagi (Sales Sharks, England)
10 Fa'atonu Fili (Wellington, NZ)
9 Junior Poluleuligaga (Bay of Plenty, NZ)
8 Henry Tuilagi (Perpignan, France)
7 Ofisa Treviranus (Malie, Apia West)
6 George Stowers, Capt. (London Irish, England)
5 Iosefa Tekori (Castres Olympique, France)
4 Filipo Levi (Newcastle Falcons, England)
3 Cencus Johnston (Toulouse, France)
2 Mahonri Schwalger (Sale Sharks, England)
1 Justin Va'a (Glasgow Warriors, Scotland)
16 Andrew Williams (Marist, Apia West)
17 Sakaria Taulafo (Tasman, New Zealand)
18 Kane Thompson (Dax, France)
19 Jonny Faamatuianu (Bath Rugby, England)
20 Uale Mai (Marist, Apia West)
21 Henry Fa'afili (Leeds Carniege, England)
22 Titi Esau (Afega, Apia West)
Head Coach: Fuimaono Titimaea Tafua,25883,16024_5691829,00.html

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